Gator Country: Book summary and reviews of Gator Country by Rebecca Renner

Gator Country

Deception, Danger, and Alligators in the Everglades

by Rebecca Renner

Gator Country by Rebecca Renner X
Gator Country by Rebecca Renner
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Book Summary

David Grann meets Susan Orlean in this page-turning true story of an underground operation into the mysterious world of alligator poaching and its larger than life Floridian characters

To catch a Florida Man, you have to become one, and that's what Officer Jeff Babauta did. As his ponytailed, whiskey-soaked alter ego, he established Sunshine Alligator Farm. His goal? Infiltrate the shady world of illegal poachers in the Florida Everglades in order to protect the natural world.

A head-spinning adventure soon unfolds. Jeff deals with glow-in-the-dark alligators and high-speed airboat rides, but quickly learns that not all poachers are villains. They're simply people trying to survive, fighting against the poverty and greed holding them down. Jeff wants to solve the mystery of alligator poachers, and in doing so he must venture deeper into a strange ecosystem where right is wrong, and justice comes at the cost of those who've welcomed him into their world.

Gator Country is the twisting true story of the impossible choices individuals must make to stay afloat in this world. Through its wholly unique blend of reporting, nature writing, and personal narrative, this book transports readers to vibrant and dangerous Florida landscapes and offers intimate portraits of those who call the region home. Broad in scope and vivid in detail, Gator Country is a fast paced tale of the risks people will take to survive in one of the world's most beautiful yet formidable landscapes and the undercover investigation that threatens to topple the whole scheme.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Fascinating...Renner teases out the moral ambiguities with a grace and rigor reminiscent of Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief. Beautifully evoking the 'sawgrass plains and wild strands of jungle' of its author's home state, this tale of power, politics, and tradition is a triumph." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Combining her skills for investigative reporting, nature writing, and personal anecdotes, Renner explores local folklore and legends, shares her personal experiences and observations... Renner's passion for her home state, compassion for those less fortunate, and gift of storytelling make this book difficult to put down. Enlightening and full of suspense." ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"An astounding story about an alligator-poaching operation in the Florida Everglades. [Renner] probes the nature of crime and human character, while also mining the far-reaching consequences of what it truly takes to survive—in the wild and in society..... Her propulsive narrative reads as suspensefully as a well-wrought mystery novel as she uncovers an exciting true story rife with shocking twists and turns that will educate, enlighten, and enthrall her audience." —Shelf Awareness

"In this fascinating blend of true crime and science reporting, Rebecca Renner's Gator Country tracks Jeff Babauta, an unassuming undercover conservation agent who risks it all to infiltrate an alligator poaching operation in the treacherous Florida wetlands. Told with fierce loyalty to nature and compassion for humans, Renner's Gator Country delivers all the suspense and subterfuge of a le Carré novel. It'll even make you love alligators." ―Erika Krouse, award-winning author of Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation

"Gator Country brims with energy, confidence, and all the hallmarks of a true-life thriller, but Rebecca Renner's unique talent is her keen skill at bringing her characters to life and giving their motivations full color and context. The result is poignant and wonderful. Gator Country isn't just a thrill for thrill's sake, but a generous, thoughtful exploration of what it means for all of us to live in a habitat of predators. Rebecca Renner is a true talent." ―Adam Chandler, author of Drive-Thru Dreams

"A gorgeously rendered ode to the wild characters - both human and animal - of Renner's native Florida, Gator Country takes a deep dive into the fascinatingly blurry line that can exist between poachers and conservationists operating in our own backyards." ―Rachel Nuwer, author of Poached

This information about Gator Country was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Rebecca Renner

Rebecca Renner is a contributor to National Geographic, and her writing has appeared The New York Times, Outside Magazine, Tin House, The Paris Review, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and other publications. She holds an MFA from Stetson University. Gator Country is her debut.

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