Towards the beginning of his book, Mr. Grice has a great line, "To consider animal behavior without history is to misunderstand it." The author then goes about describing how humans misread many potentially dangerous animals by anthropomorphizing their actions. He correctly argues that much of this is rooted in an arrogant religious mindset that human beings are at the top of the scale of value, so that any information that moves us lower must be explained as abnormal. This silly attitude isn't science but simply wishful thinking on the part of people. As he says, "In the real world, the significance of things is situational, not determined by some preordained ranking." Human actions, such as encroachment into other animals' habitats, factor largely in the hunting habits and conflicts which arise between us and other animals. This book explains what happens when we cross paths with creatures who are very capable of doing us harm or serving us up as the main meal on that day's culinary delights.
Many of Mr. Grice's stories of deadly animals getting the better of people sure tested my faith in the intelligence of mankind. There's no way around it, some of the victims were laughably stupid. The author has a wonderful, playful ability to explain dangerous wildlife in layman's terms. He covers all the bases. Land, air, water, you name it, there's something out there to do you in. Mr. Grice explains the habits of canines, cats, bears, hyenas (darned right scary fellahs), sharks, fish, whales, numerous other denizens of the deep, snakes, crocodiles, lizards, birds, monkeys, apes, chimps, bats, rodents, elephants, farm animals, and the one section that had me squirming through the entire seventy pages pertained to spiders, boatloads of different insects and worms. It's obvious the guy loves observing animals and knows his stuff. "The Book of Deadly Animals" is a highly informative, entertaining and amusing read. The only problem I have with the thing is that after reading the book I may never leave my house again. I want my mommy.