Winner of the Colorado Book Award

Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist

Denver/Boulder bestseller

A Library Journal best sci-tech book of 2003

“A book that grabs its readers and does not let them go until the last page.”
New Scientist

“Take Peter Benchley’s best-selling Jaws, move it to the Colorado Front Range, add a group of nature-loving citizens and you have The Beast in the Garden.”
Denver Post

“A chilling, cautionary tale. It’s also a terrific read.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Written with the dramatic flourish of a thriller, Baron’s fascinating book is a cautionary tale of what happens when we destroy animal habitats: eventually, we are forced to co-exist, and, while animals may struggle to adapt to our environment, we are totally unprepared for life in close proximity to them.”
The Ecologist

“Weaving together deep research, meticulous reporting, vivid characterization, disciplined prose, informative political and historical asides, lucid science, incisive wit, and narrative pacing as smooth and suspenseful as a stalking mountain lion, Baron has created a wily page-turner.”
Boston Globe

The Beast in the Garden almost reads like a crime novel. The book moves through the days leading up to the jogger’s attack, and each chapter ends on a cliff-hanging note.”
Seattle Times

“Raises powerful questions, and reminds even those of us who live in cities that we share our space with animals we see, and many that we do not.”

“The theme of the artificiality of the wilderness around Boulder runs throughout The Beast in the Garden, as does the idea that by romanticizing this artificial wilderness and its supposed 'naturalness,' Boulder's citizens were shirking their responsibility to manage it properly and were refusing to understand their role in creating the conditions that had led to the return of cougars.”

“Baron explores what it means that lions are repopulating developed areas—with pollution declining, wilderness acreage expanding, and lion hunting forbidden, there will be ever-more [cougars] in American and Canadian exurban areas.”
—Gregg Easterbrook, The New Republic Online

The Beast in the Garden is told like a whodunit, in reverse. From the beginning, we know the identity of the killer: a 100-pound adult male mountain lion spotted near the eviscerated corpse of an 18-year-old jogger in the Rocky Mountain foothils west of Denver in 1991. Baron sets out to uncover how and why an animal known to biologists to be nocturnal and elusive, likely to flee if and when it is seen, came to pounce upon a high school student out for a run during fifth period, just after a lunch of pepperoni pizza at the local 7-Eleven.”

“David Baron has done an extraordinary job of scoping out the personalities on each side of the issue: those officials who didn’t see any reason to act, and those on the outskirts of Boulder who were seeing their pets disappear while lions sunned themselves in backyards and pressed their noses to terrace doors.”
National Geographic Adventure

“A real page-turner. . . . [Baron] does a public service by presenting the harsh reality of what happens when wild creatures become habituated to humans.”

“One of the very best accounts of the conflict between doing what is thought of as being environmentally correct versus using common sense.”
Plattsburgh Press-Republican

“Baron . . . perceptively dissect[s] both sides of the impassioned debate these terrifying confrontations engender, revealing how naive and unrealistic the live-and-let-live approach can be, and how easy it is to take the kill-the-miserable-beasts response to unreasonable extremes.”

“It’s about environmentalism either gone terribly wrong or brilliantly correct, depending on your perspective. The Beast in the Garden leaves it up to you to decide.”
Providence Journal

“The deeper lesson of Baron’s story is that we can no longer escape our profound influence on nature. . . . Instead of idealizing intact (or apparently intact) landscapes, The Beast in the Garden untangles our assumptions about those landscapes, helping to clarify the fascinating—and often disturbing—connections between humans and nature.”

“[A] compelling parable of man and animal, of the Old West and the New West, of wildlife that is no longer wild. . . . [Baron] shows how mountain lions, once enemies to be exterminated, have become revered symbols of a wilderness that no longer truly exists.”
High Country News

“Never before have so many people lived so close to so many potentially dangerous animals while simultaneously lacking the desire to exterminate them. The potential consequences of that historically unique set of circumstances form the theme of a gripping, well-researched new book by David Baron.”
Ventura County Star

“Baron's ability as a storyteller . . . contributes much to the success of The Beast in the Garden. He carefully mixes the contemporary storyline with whimsical and shocking historical material, linking it all back to an eerie, third-person account of an anonymous every-cougar that stalks the foothills above Boulder. Baron as organized anecdote, probable fact and interviews into a thought-provoking real-life mystery.”
Colorado Daily

“Baron's book reads as easily as any best-selling mystery. But the questions it raises—including how wild we really want our wilderness to be—remain unanswered.”
California Wild

“This book should be read by field biologists and administrators of natural resource agencies and by activists who promote the return of large carnivores in their native ranges. Restoring large carnivores is not as simple as just wanting them back. Baron reminds us of this in exquisite detail.”
Conservation Biology

“The book calls itself a parable, and there are certainly many messages here. The first, optimistic message is that mountain lion populations are recovering rapidly, and that they are able to adapt to the modern, human-altered landscape of the American West. The second message is that the modern American love affair with wilderness is based on a total delusion. . . . [T]his book is a highly recommended read that serves as a vital reality check.”
Wildlife Biology

The Beast in the Garden is an important cautionary tale of what lies ahead. . . . [B]e prepared to find your thoughts returning often to the lesson taught in this book.”
Journal of Mammalogy

“In the tradition of John Krakauer and David Quammen, David Baron weaves a fascinating tale of the interaction between humans and mountain lions in Colorado. This book mades the connection between changing landscapes and human-wildlife interactions in such a dramatic and convincing way that it should be recommended reading to anyone with a stake in wildlife preservation.”
Landscape Ecology

“Useful to anyone interested in predators, the urban/rural fringe, or conflicts between development and wildlife in the West in general. As a 'modern parable of man and nature,' it also serves as fair warning of the consequences of believing humans can live in nature without altering it in unpredictable ways, even with history as a guide.”
Environmental History

“This engaging, important book deserves a wide audience. . . . Baron has written 'a modern parable of man and nature,' a most timely book from which experts and laypersons alike can learn.”
Human Dimensions of Wildlife

“Baron closes this challenging work of nonfiction with this moral lesson: 'We are changing animal behavior in unexpected and troubling ways. . . . Reducing conflicts between people and wild animals will require controls on human actions—where we build our homes, how we landscape our yards, the ways we dispose of trash and manage house pets.'”
Virginia Quarterly Review

The Beast in the Garden is a fascinating read. Amid all the bleakness of our environmental predicament, the return of wildlife—big cats included—to much of their original North American range is one of the few shreds of truly good news. As David Baron points out in this vivid account, that return, however, means that those of us belonging to the dominant species will need to change our habits in small but significant ways, so that we can once again share the landscape with the rest of creation.”
—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

“If you think the West was won, the frontier conquered, wilderness subdued and wildness lost, think again. David Baron's The Beast in the Garden betrays some of the most enduring myths of the American West, and the American environmental movement. . . . It's a gripping tale of human naiveté, misguided intentions, and conventional wisdom gone awry. It reads like a novel but it's all true. And it's happening right on the edge of town.”
—Howard Berkes, NPR

The Beast in the Garden . . . brings out the deep contradictions in our attitudes toward what we loosely call Nature. In a time when our debates about the environment so often come down to strident, simplistic claims on all sides, the intelligent complexity of Baron’s book is refreshing and necessary. He’s packed this book with honest emotion and good sense, and he’s managed to portray all the animals involved, human and otherwise, with compassion. This is an extraordinary achievement.”
—Gordon Grice, author of The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators

“Anyone who cares about large predators and their future survival should read this book.”
—Harley Shaw, wildlife biologist and author of Soul among Lions: The Cougar as Peaceful Adversary