Monday, March 3, 2008

Big Cats 2008 - A Review

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I recently received a copy of the CFZ's latest book: Big Cats in Britain Yearbook 2008 edited by big-cat authority, Mark Fraser. Well, I read the book over the weekend, and I can say for certain you don't want to miss this one if big-cats are your thing.

Indeed, for the big cat devotee, the latest Yearbook contains much that will inform, intrigue and entertain. After a foreword from Merrily Harpur - author of the truly excellent book Mystery Big Cats - we are treated to a review of the 2007 Big Cats in Britain Conference by Christine Hall. Christine's review takes a slightly different, and welcome, approach, however, as it delves deep into the value of such events, rather than merely its content.

And as Christine astutely concludes with respect to the conference: "It brought gravitas to a subject often perceived as fringe, although it was clearly demonstrated by the speakers that the issue of big cats in our countryside is a very serious issue with many ramifications."

Brian Percival's paper, Mixing Art and the Curriculum, is an interesting one and delves into mysterious big cats seen in the north of England; as well as a notable project involving England's Bolton Museum and Art Gallery.

Every Village Should Have One by John Beart reveals details of his own, personal encounters with big-cats; and Rick Minter explores reports of such creatures on the loose in the English county of Gloucestershire.

Christopher Johnston explores the issue of territory vs. range with respect to these elusive beasts of Britain; Frank Tunbridge has an article titled Black Panther Killed on Bypass; and Chris Hall reveals how discussing the big-cat issue in passing conversation can bring forth intriguing witness testimony.

However, the most important contribution is the Big Cat Diary, which, from pages 45 to 230, details countless big-cat reports in 2007 from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Southern Ireland.

The reports are both impressive and diverse and should convince pretty much anyone and everyone that large, unknown cats do inhabit the UK - and may well have done so for a very long time. You'll find in these sections masses of data that would otherwise be very hard to locate. For that reason alone, the book is an essential purchase.

And everything is rounded off by Mark Fraser, who provides an excellent summary on the history, work, aims and objectives of the Big Cats in Britain group.

Great value for money and highly informative!

No comments: