The Sting of the Wild

  • by Justin O. Schmidt
  • Narrated by L. J. Ganser
  • 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Entomologist Justin O. Schmidt is on a mission. Some say it's a brave exploration, others shake their heads in disbelief. His goal? To compare the impacts of stinging insects on humans, mainly using himself as the gauge.
In The Sting of the Wild, the colorful Dr. Schmidt takes us on a journey inside the lives of stinging insects, seeing the world through their eyes as well as his own. He explains how and why they attack and reveals the powerful punch they can deliver with a small venom gland and a "sting", the name for the apparatus that delivers the venom. We learn which insects are the worst to encounter and why some are barely worth considering.
The Sting of the Wild includes the complete Schmidt Sting Pain Index. In addition to a numerical ranking of the agony of each of the 83 stings he's sampled so far (from below one to an excruciatingly painful four), Schmidt describes them in prose worthy of a professional wine critic: "Looks deceive. Rich and full-bodied in appearance, but flavorless" and "Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch nail embedded in your heel."

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What the Critics Say

"Schmidt's tales will prove infectiously engaging even to entomophobes." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An interesting look at stinging insects

What made the experience of listening to The Sting of the Wild the most enjoyable?

The obvious passion and love the author has really helps this book come across charmingly. Passion is an incredibly important part of teaching people about science, and I appreciate it as someone who is in microbiology but not in entomology. Theres a lot of interesting information and history in here and I found it a fun, breezy walk through the world of stinging insects as well as the evolutionary reasons they engaged in stinging. Its a good, digestible read even for non scientists I would assume and if you're at all interested, give it a go.


Any additional comments?

If I had complaints, I'd say that the book being designed so that you can read independent of chapter order might have had a bit of a negative impact. It leads to some repetition and I think a more ordered and linear book would have benefited it overall. I also might have suggested leaving the appendix about stinging insects as a PDF rather than putting it in the book, as it doesn't have too much meat on its bones and isn't super thrilling to listen to due to the nature of what it is.

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- Colin Mc

Intriguing World of Stinging Insects.

What made the experience of listening to The Sting of the Wild the most enjoyable?

All descriptions informative and fun. The bullet ants, so powerful their venom...they are the most compelling.


Who was your favorite character and why?

The bullet ants.


What does L. J. Ganser bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Absolutely. Just the right enough of informative description and historical, entomological reportage.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

An extreme reaction, well no. Not a fitting question for this mellow paced, informative, entertaining listen. How fun it would be to listen to this book during a long drive with children.


Any additional comments?

A keeper, especially if you are fauna buff.

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- William R. Toddmancillas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-28-2017
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio