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Book Reviews & Media Coverage

Chris Palmer book cover

Reviews for Shooting in the Wild

An Insider’s Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom

By Chris Palmer, with foreword by Jane Goodall

A veteran producer examines the thrilling yet controversial world of wildlife filmmaking—from celebrity follies to life-and-death perils.

Published by Sierra Club Books, May 2010

Available at now

Download Press Release (PDF)

Chapter breakdown with summaries
Praise for Shooting in the Wild
Q & A with Chris Palmer


Huffington Post Logo

"Palmer's new book is a sharp and searching assessment of the contemporary wildlife media universe from someone who loves the field and wants to see it live up to its promise." Full review - Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, The Huffington Post

SOC Library Journal logo

"Palmer makes clear the challenges of creating films that are entertaining enough for wide distribution yet capable of educating audiences on environmental conservation." Full review - Kimberly Bartosz, Univ. of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, The Library Journal

SOC Booklist Online logo

"In all this is an engaging and exceedingly timely look at a form of entertainment the public has long taken for granted and which, as Palmer points out, really needs a fresh and careful reconsideration." Full review - the American Library Association, Booklist Online

Big Green Purse Logo

"Chris is a master storyteller, and his accounts of the death of 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin, who was killed by a sting ray; Timothy Treadwell, who died at the hands of the grizzly bears he filmed; and filmmakers who narrowly missed being chomped to death by a 30-foot long python are not to be missed." Full review - Diane MacEachern, founder and CEO of Big Green Purse, Big Green Purse blog

Logo for Animal Welfare Institute.

"The shocking secrets behind the wildlife filmmaking industry are uncovered in veteran filmmaker Chris Palmer’s book, Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom." Full review
-Animal Welfare Institute

Logo for ESPN Outdoors.

"A good wildlife film should be able to help people ask critical questions about the validity of what they are watching. "Shooting In The Wild" should be commended for calling a spade a spade and bringing up this subject and giving us a chance to see what really does happen on the set when wild animals are supposed to be the lead characters." Full review
-James A. Swan, Ph.D., ESPN Outdoors

Logo for The Chickahominy Report website.

"Shooting in the Wild is no confessional. It is no polemic. Palmer, Distinguished Film Producer in Residence at American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking, offers a reasoned, nuanced view of the realities of filming the world’s animal life."  Full review
-David Lawrence, The Chickahominy Report

The Great Oceans logo.

"Shooting in the Wild, An Insider’s Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom is a book long over due. It is the book to read for anyone who enjoys watching nature programs of any type. For those just breaking into the business of wildlife programing, it is the book to be studied." Full review
-The Great Oceans

Logo for

"There are few individuals on either side of the Atlantic who are more qualified to write about the world of wildlife filmmaking than Chris Palmer, a career natural history producer who has filled important programming positions at the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation and, most recently, MacGillivray-Freeman Films. His recent book, Shooting in the Wild, is a must-read for any aspiring wildlife filmmaker and an important contribution to the history of a genre that is little understood even by its longtime practitioners." Full review
                                            -Barry Clark,

New York Times, The Call of the Wild, Heeded With Tenacity

Missoula Independent, Is That a Real Shark?

Sea Web, Patrolling the Ethical Front Lines of Wildlife Filmmaking

Washington Post, Filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert chronicle Africa's 'Last Lions'

National Parks: TRAVELER, What's Real And What's Not Behind Reality TV's Nature Shows?

ricklibrarian, Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom by Chris Palmer

Booklist Online, Review, Editor's Choice

TV Technology, Smoke and Mirrors

Kojo Nnamdi Show, Wildlife Photography: Natural or Staged?

Action Now Network, You'll Never View Wildlife Shows the Same Way Again

Wildlife Art Journal, Chris Palmer Forces Filmmakers To Look Selves In Mirror, The Secrets of Animal TV: Many Nature Shows Rely on Unethical Tactics

New Scientist, Wildlife film-maker: Everybody's Faking it

Nightline, Deception in Animal Documentaries

Good Morning America, Wildlife Films Staged: Producer Comes Clean

Canadian Television, Faked Wildlife Documentaries

Weekend Edition, Wildlife Films: Seeing But Not Always Believing

WWF, Live Planet Report 2010 Launch: Web Cast

Washington Post, Wildlife filmmaker Chris Palmer shows that animals are often set up to succeed

Fox News Channel, "Follow the Money"

TV Guide, Are Wildlife Shows Real?

The Diane Rehm Show, WAMU 88.5 FM, The Future of Commercial Whaling

American Magazine, Cue the Animals

The Animal House, WAMU 88.5 FM,  Interview

The Washington Examiner, The 3-Minute Interview: Christopher Palmer

The Hoopoe, Shooting in the Wild – Chris Palmer’s appeal to wildlife film makers

The Nervous Breakdown, Chris Palmer: The TNB Self-Interview

The Eagle, Filmmakers have moral duty to accurately depict wild

Izilwane, Shooting in the Wild: An Interview with Filmmaker Chris Palmer

moviefone, Wildlife Filmmaker Chris Palmer Says Nature Documentaries Are Manipulative

Field & Stream, Nature Documentaries: Stage In "The Wild"

Fairfax Connection, The Truth Behind the Movies: Chris Palmer

Huffington Post, New Book Goes Behind the Scenes of Nature Films

Booklist Online, Shooting in the Wild