I have been delinquent in attending to my website/blog www.Sweetbill.com, and there is much to write about.
(This blog was updated to include a Washington Monthly Review on January 10, 2011)
Let’s start with nine reviews for Year of The Pig. There are several reviews that I’ve found through search engines. Other reviews were brought to my attention by my publisher –the University of Alabama Press. These reviews may be divided into two categories: reviews that were solicited by the University of Alabama Press; or reviews that I initiated by contacting newspapers or websites.
Reviews Solicited by the University of Alabama Press:
#1 To date one of the most significant reviews came out September 1st in the Mobile Press Register. It was article titled “Full Boar” that was written by Nicholas Holmes III and it may be located through a website that aggregates significant news from the state of Alabama. http://blog.al.com/entertainment-press-register/2011/09/book_review_hunting_memoir_yea.html
NICHOLAS HOLMES III writes: Hainds is also an avid (obsessed?) outdoorsman who has written this fun book of hunting tales featuring wild hogs as the quarry. While I have read many of the classic hunting stories, from Archibald Rutledge to Tom Kelly, I’m unaware of any that feature the hog. They may be out there, but I’ve not seen them. Thus this book is a welcome addition to the genre.
#2 Another oft-cited review comes from the Sierra Club. I assume the University of Alabama Press sent them a review copy prior to the publish date, because this was another very positive and very early review. http://sierraclub.typepad.com/greenlife/2011/06/book-review-wednesday-to-the-extreme.html
Feral pigs threaten vast portions of U.S. ecosystems, so Hainds, a forester, did good by spending 2007 hog-hunting in 11 states. Hainds’ anecdotes, titled by a tree of each different ecosystem, wield dry humor and the admirable values of a farmer’s son to critique the current state of hunting. His sympathetic intelligence suffuses this seriously funny nonfiction.
#3 From NYBooks. This one falls under University Presses – General Interest and me be downloaded as a PDF file.
#4 From Shelf Awareness, which describes itself thusly: “Shelf Awareness is a free e-newsletter about books and the book industry”. http://www.shelf-awareness.com/ar/readers/2011-09-23/year_of_the_pig.html
From Shelf Awareness’s Review: Death from bow, gun or knife–name it and Hainds has likely accomplished his task with a studied hobbyist’s glee, a marksman’s delicate precision and a comedian’s dry humor.
#5 From The Midwest Book Review and the “Pets Wildlife Shelf”. http://www.midwestbookreview.com/calbw/dec_11.htm
This is not easy to find on the page so I’ll post the entire review here:
Year of the Pig
Mark J. Hainds
University of Alabama Press
Box 870380, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0380
0817356703, $16.95, www.uapress.ua.edu
YEAR OF THE PIG provides a fine story of the hunter author’s pursuit of wild pigs in eleven American states, and is a power set of anecdotes that covers both hunting and ecosystem management. Chapters tell of Mark Hainds’ hunting through wetlands, forests, and swamp environments but they also document the wild pig’s impact on world ecology. While it reads like an adventure hunting story, it also comes packed with insights on wild pigs and their issues, and is recommended for hunting and ecology collections alike.
Reviews I solicited.
#6 Invasivore.org is a website that promotes eating invasive species. After I contacted them about my book, they agreed to read it and post a review on their website.
Mathew at Invasivore writes: I’m no hunter, but Mark J. Hainds’ Year of the Pig sharply hits the mark, with each tale of the hunt more exciting than the last. The book provides the detailed personal account of Hainds’ journey to hunt feral pigs in ten states, appropriately during 2007, the Chinese calendar’s Year of the Pig. Hainds uses guns, bows and arrows, and even dogs and knives to hunt pigs in a variety of dramatic scenes, keeping the reader engaged as he pursues his lofty goal and unrepentant quarry.
#7 do not believe I know Mr. Jeff Dennis who wrote this review for the Charleston Mercury titled “Invasive Swine Are Too High a Price to Pay for Sport.” I was put in touch with Mr. Dennis through a friend in South Carolina and he read and reviewed the book.
FromMr. Dennis’s review: Outdoorsmen who think of themselves as keen observers will enjoy reading Year of the Pig, which is told first from the perspective of a hog hunter and second from the perspective of a naturalist.
#8 From the Florida Forest Steward, http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/Extension/FFSnl/ffsnl183.pdf. Unlike the other reviewers, I do know Mr. Demers. His review is titled “Year of The Pig”: A Great Read for Landowners, Managers and Outdoor Enthusiasts.
Chris Demers writes: The book reveals much about wild pigs, the habitats to which they’ve adapted over the centuries and the challenge of hunting them. It also reveals much about the author – his hunting skills and ethics developed over a lifetime pursuing the
sport, his passion for the outdoors and land stewardship, as well as his patience and
sense of humor.
#9 The most recent review is from the “Washington Monthly.” Titled “Boarish Behavior”, this review was written by Justin Peters and posted January 9th, 2012. http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/januaryfebruary_2012/on_political_books/boarish_behavior034618.php
The review could best be categorized as mixed, but overall positive. The opening paragraph from the review made me laugh out loud: There comes a point in every man’s life when he realizes he hasn’t spent enough time killing feral pigs. For Mark Hainds, that point was 2007—the Year of the Pig, in the Chinese calendar—when he decided that too many pigs had been alive for too long, and that the only reasonable solution was to raid his retirement account and spend a year traveling the country, killing pigs in as many states as possible.
For those interested in the various locations/ecosystems I hunted Mr. Peters writes:
His clear, precise descriptions of the different forests in which he hunts illuminate the variety of ecosystems under attack by wild pigs—and he makes a strong case that responsible pig hunting is a relevant and vital form of pest control in these endangered ecosystems.
A legitimate criticism of my work from Mr. Peters: And too much attention is paid to the mechanics of each hunt—how it was planned, where he stayed when he got there, what time he had to wake up on the day of the hunt. An editor should have cut all this superfluous information. The interesting theme here is man vs. pig.
When he hits that theme, the book is excellent. In those segments, Hainds comes across as something of a rural American Ahab, ready to endure endless privations in the pursuit of his quest: