By Paul A. Trout
Prometheus Books, $26.00, 304 pages

It is interesting the power that predators have over the human imagination. Deadly Powers: Animal Predators and the Mythic Imagination explores this connection, delving into how our various societies have been shaped by the very things that eat us. It shows how we became what we are through the animals that threatened us, and how we learned how to deal with those terrors. It is a history of mankind as told through our veneration of things with claws and fangs.

This is definitely a fascinating book. Trout has delved through some fascinating material to find some interesting stories, and then he masterfully relates them back to our development at that point. It is told in a storyteller’s style, with just enough academic dusting to make it serious. Although he could have gone deeper, and some sections seem to be just a light covering of the subject, this is a  great survey of most of the theories that deal with early man, predators, and managing the fear thereof. This book is not only good for mythologist and psychologists, but writers may get a special kick out of this book as well.

Reviewed by Jamais Jochim