Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Frontispiece

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Contents

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pp. ix-x

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ONE: La Compagnie

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pp. 1-3

If you are lucky enough, maybe even once or twice in a dozen years, your route, a solitary communal road in Burgundy, for example, will suddenly transect the path of a different tribe, a strict society in motion, one that shares the same terrain as you but one that...

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TWO: The Gift

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pp. 4-17

On a typical fogbound evening, a Sunday just days before Christmas, our neighbor Monsieur Delanoe, a lean, elegantlooking Frenchman with striking white hair and neatly trimmed beard, presented me—I should say dropped in my lap—an...

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THREE: Field Dressing

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pp. 18-28

First you have to make sure that the boar is dead,” Jean-Pierre Bajon, our butcher, helpfully explained to us. I’d heard this warning before, and Monsieur Delanoe had an impressive moonlike scar on his hip to remind him of the danger. “Sometimes you...

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FOUR: The Beast of Our Emotions

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pp. 29-37

Throughout the ages, wild boars have elicited depictions of ferocity and cruelty that are epitomized by thirteenth-century Franciscan monk Bartholomaeus Anglicus in his bestiary De proprietatibus rerum (On the Order of Things):...

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FIVE: Boars in the Evolutionary Parade

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pp. 38-46

So what are wild boars anyway? This question led me into the fantastical world of taxonomy and an evolutionary parade of peculiar animals, one of which was an entelodont. This distant relative of the wild boar inhabited Europe, Asia, and western North...

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SIX: Woodsmen and Boars

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pp. 47-57

I admit that few things could be more absurd than a middle-aged man being jealous of his own mother who was moving into her late seventies. Surely some would be dismayed that the source of my jealousy was my mother’s uncanny luck in seeing boars all the...

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SEVEN: The Noble Domain

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pp. 58-70

I first visited the Château de Chambord some twenty years ago during the most frigid winter we’d ever lived through in France. Built on flat land and surrounded by an enormous forested park within the larger Forêt Domaniale de Boulogne, the chateau...

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EIGHT: Nights in the Forest

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pp. 71-82

Two rousses, females, spotted me from a managed copse on the far side of a broad fallow field. To my surprise, instead of fleeing or receding into the trees, they came trotting straight over to greet me at a fence. They paused and lifted their snouts in an...

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NINE: Myths and Monsters

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pp. 83-93

Unlike other students who also elected to take Latin, I didn’t mind translating De Bello Gallico, Julius Caesar’s commentaries on the Gallic Wars. It wasn’t the warfare that attracted me so much as the lucidity of the writing; the people and places...

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TEN: Travels: Tuscany, Tyrrhenian Islands, and Boars

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pp. 94-109

Mary had assumed that my enthusiasm for boars would be short-lived like my ephemeral interest in fly fishing after a couple of fruitless hours on a fished-out French river or mushrooming after learning of the accidental poisoning of a neighbor’s...

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ELEVEN: The Divine Beast

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pp. 110-120

Boars, mammoths, modern humans, and Neanderthals coexisted in the region where we have our country home. I hadn’t thought about this until I walked into a nearby church obscured in scaffolding and masonry dust and saw an elaborate display of man-made stone artifacts spanning from the early Pleistocene era to the...

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TWELVE: Beautiful Monsters Back Home

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pp. 121-135

Zooming in on a satellite image of Matagorda, Texas, you see a complex convergence of water systems. The Colorado River, not to be confused with the western river with the same name, winds roughly south, skirting the Southwest Texas Nuclear Generating...

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THIRTEEN: Fête du Sanglier

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pp. 136-148

Jean-Marie Boisgibault arrived at our door with his wife, Evelyne, on a cool but bright Sunday in November, when the air is rich with the odor of damp chestnut leaves on the place de l’Église. Jean-Marie, a sturdy, clean-shaven man, came to deliver a fully...

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FOURTEEN: Julie

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pp. 149-158

Jean-Marie off ered no clues, only one of his cagey half-smiles. We were seated on a freshly built porch, part of a large addition Jean- Marie’s team had constructed. Our friends, celebrating Jean-Marie’s good works, prepared a generous buff et of cheeses and charcuterie and...

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RECIPES

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pp. 159-170

Although none of us had cooked boar before our first Christmas feast, afterward my mother wanted to try her hand at a sanglier dish. Counter to the ardent and repeated advice to marinate or stew the meat, however, she was determined to target its essential flavor. She had an idea...

Sources and Acknowledgments

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pp. 171-172

Index

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pp. 173-183