Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Wolf in Non Fiction Books

The Wolf in Non Fiction Books

This is a chapter from "The Wolf" © 2011 by Wolf Sullivan. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the consent of the author.

"The Wolf Children" (1977) by Charles Maclean is a non-fiction account of Kamala and Amala, two girls raised by a she-wolf in northeastern India, until they were reclaimed by humans. Of all the books about feral children supposedly raised by wolves, this one about the Wolf Girls of Midnapore is one of the most comprehensive. Maclean did extensive research into the story of Kamala and Amala, found by Indian villagers in a wolf's den and rescued by Anglican missionary Rev. J. A. L. Singh in October of 1920. Singh and his Indian wife ran an orphanage. The book is a well researched and well written summary of the facts discovered by the author in the 1970s, and could still be the best book on the subject for the general reader. Maclean does not present all of his research in detail, but summarizes it all to make it more readable in a suspenseful narrative. Amala, the younger died soon after capture in 1921, but Kamala remained at the orphanage eight more years, where they tried to teach her language and simple human behaviors like wearing clothes, using utensils, and walking upright--all things she resisted. Kamala formed an attachment to Mrs. Singh, and developed rudimentary human skills such as standing, a shuffle-walk, and some vocabulary, but regressed whenever slight gains were made. She had a brief passion for fried eggs, an obsession with anything red, and certain wolf-like traits like running on all fours, excreting anywhere, and a preference for raw meat. The last fourth of the book concerns how the story came to the attention of the world. There was always a lot of scientific concern about the truth of it, and the author clearly understands why: it is simply an incredible story. Nevertheless, through an apparently thorough and careful investigation, Maclean managed to satisfy his own skeptical mind that it was true. What we will never know is the exact nature of the life of the two girls with the wolves, and the wolves themselves.

"Lobo the Wolf: King of Currumpaw" (1899) by Ernest Thompson Seton is a 64 page non-fiction book based on Seton's personal journal and other historical sources. It's about Lobo, an American wolf that lived near the Currumpaw cattle ranch in New Mexico. Lobo is Spanish for wolf. During the 1890s, Lobo and his pack were deprived of their natural prey by settlers, and turned to the settlers' livestock. The ranchers tried to kill Lobo and his pack by poisoning carcasses, but the wolves removed the poisoned pieces and threw them aside. They tried to kill the wolves with traps and by hunting parties but all failed. Ernest Thompson Seton was tempted by the challenge and the $1,000 bounty to capture Lobo, the leader of the pack. He tried poisoning five baits, carefully covering traces of human scent. The following day all the baits were gone, and Seton assumed Lobo would be dead. Later he found his five baits in a pile covered in other "evidence" that Lobo was responsible. Seton bought new traps and concealed them in Lobo's territory, but he found Lobo's tracks leading from trap to trap, exposing each. Seton soon became tired and frustrated after months of failed attempts to capture Lobo. While camping out he found Lobo's track following a set of smaller tracks. Quickly he realized Lobo's weakness: his mate, a white wolf named Blanca. Seton then set traps in a narrow passage thinking Blanca would fall for Seton's planted baits that Lobo had managed to avoid. Finally Seton succeeded. Blanca, while trying to investigate Seton's planted cattle head, became trapped. When Seton found her, she was howling with Lobo by her side. Lobo ran to safe distance and watched Seton and his men kill Blanca by pulling her apart with ropes tied to their horses. Seton heard the howls of Lobo for days afterward. Lobo's calls were described by Seton as having "an unmistakable note of sorrow in it. It was no longer the loud, defiant howl, but a long, plaintive wail." Although Seton felt remorse for the grieving wolf, he continued his plan to capture Lobo. Lobo followed Blanca's scent to Seton's ranch house where they had taken the body. Seton set more traps, using Blanca's body to scent them. On January 31, 1894, Lobo was caught with all four legs in four traps. On Seton's approach, Lobo stood despite his injuries, and howled. Touched by Lobo's bravery and loyalty for his love, Seton could not kill him. He and his men roped Lobo, muzzled him and secured him to a horse, taking him back to the ranch. Lobo refused to acknowledge his captors. They secured him with a chain and he just gazed across the prairie. Poor in physical health, Lobo died that night. Seton then championed the wolf. "Ever since Lobo," Seton wrote, "my sincerest wish has been to impress upon people that each of our native wild creatures is in itself a precious heritage that we have no right to destroy or put beyond the reach of our children." Seton's story of Lobo touched the hearts of many both in the USA and the rest of the world and was partly responsible for changing views towards the environment and helped start the conservationist movement. The story had a profound influence on one of the world's most acclaimed broadcasters and naturalists Sir David Attenborough and inspired the 1962 Disney film "The Legend of Lobo". Lobo's story was the subject of a BBC documentary directed by Steve Gooder in 2007.

"Of Wolves and Men" (1978) by Barry Lopez is a 323 page non-fiction book of natural history. Lopez begins with a discussion of scientific studies regarding wolves' prodigious strength and stamina, hunting prowess, ingenious heat-preserving footpads and fur, complex forms of communication, and affection for their young and care of their elderly. In the chapters about the ancient Greeks, we learn they first emulated the wolf, then hated and feared it as a sheep killer, and then looked on it with pity, sadness and guilt. Wolves in Norse literature indicate the strange envy/hatred/fear man seems to hold for this creature. Lopez gathered insights from native American people who have lived among wolves for generations, especially Eskimo hunters who respect, revere and imitate the wolf. His conversations and travels with people who have enjoyed long associations with wolves yield many observations, anecdotes and revelations--none more moving than the spiritual aspects of hunting, especially "the conversation of death" that takes place between predator and prey when wolf or human is hunting to eat, to live. This is when "hunting is holy". Lopez considers hunting for other purposes as depravity. He traces the fine line between nature and culture to show that what we call nature is in fact a human invention, a story we tell ourselves about the universe in an attempt to define what we actually know little about. "We create wolves," he writes. A survey of wolf lore is presented in which the wolf is caricatured, celebrated and demonized, from Aesop's fables to Little Red Riding Hood to other fairy tales, myths and legends, to stories of werewolves. Wolves are cast as outlaws and sexual criminals. Lopez dwells the longest on castigations of the Christian church that equated the wolf with the devil. He also exposes the parallels between the 19th Century war against wolves and the war against America Indians, concluding that there is "a terrible meanness in the human spirit." Lopez reports on the reintroduction of wolves into various Western regions, an action that has aroused controversy and demonstrated our recognition of the need to maintain "a give-and-take relationship with the natural world." In the closing chapters everything ties together, and points to the inherent relationship between a cosmic disaster and the decline of wolves. The pictures included are good: the drawings are superb, the photos are good but a bit blurry given their age, and the illustrations highly informative. Here is an excerpt from Lopez's book:

("An American Pogrom" on pages 171 -173)
"The European colonist was not much troubled by wolves until he began raising stock. The first livestock came to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609—swine, cattle, and horses. By 1625 these animals were common in colonial settlements and how to stop the wolves who preyed on these beasts was a topic to galvanize community discussion. While the European farmer might have dealt with predation by himself, in America, where people were forced to band together for a variety of reasons, wolf control was a community problem. Together with his neighbors a man dug wolf pits and erected palisades. He conducted battues and paid salaries to professional wolf hunters, as he had done in Europe. And he passed bounty laws. Wolf bounties had been a means of effecting wolf control for thousands of years and were current in Europe and the British Isles at the time of immigration. A system both biologically ineffective and wide open to fraud, it was nevertheless popular because raising the bounty payment and exchanging it for a dead wolf was a tangible, daily evidence that something was being done...
Compounding the issue was the indiscriminate killing of wolves when only one or two were actually doing the damage in a region where twenty or thirty lived. Under such continued pressure and harassment, the wolf had begun to disappear in the Northeast before the end of the eighteenth century. What few wolves were left lived in remote areas and avoided men. Some may have emigrated over the Alleghenies like the Indians, ahead of westward expansion."

"War Against the Wolf: America's Campaign to Exterminate the Wolf" (1995) by Rick McIntyre is a 495 page non-fiction book, a comprehensive history of American sentiment about the wolf. He does a great job of covering the various aspects of legislation on the wolf and also cites essays, poems, chants and treatises. There is little biological information because this is a study on human attitudes as they have affected the wolf. McIntyre chronicles the history of persecution, including how the federal government has aided and abetted the livestock industry in the wolf's extermination. Over one hundred journal entries, essays, reports and modern articles provide evidence of a nation's calculated efforts to eradicate this animal from 1630 to 1995. Among the first acts of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Bay Colony was to set a bounty on wolves: first a penny for a pelt, then four bushels of corn for a mere scrap of fur. Succeeding generations of Americans followed the Pilgrims' lead, until by the middle of the 20th century the wolf was driven to the verge of extinction nearly everywhere outside Alaska. The war began on a small scale and eventually escalated to all 48 contiguous states. Between 1870 and 1930, extermination of predators, especially wolves, became a national policy carried out by the U.S. Biological Survey, now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. McIntyre has collected material from government reports, journals, newspaper and magazine articles and traditional Native American stories to illustrate our attitude toward wolves over three centuries. This anthology includes pieces by James Audubon, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Thompson Seton and Aldo Leopold--tales of outlaw wolves, hunters and trappers. These tales and agency reports are gruesome reading, including cubs hauled out of their dens with baited fish hooks, entire packs poisoned, and a town using gray wolf carcasses to pave a road. In the last 50 years attitudes have changed. With the passage of the Endangered Species Act (1973), wolves began to make a come back and the final section reports on their reintroduction in national parks. This is a fine companion to McIntyre's earlier book "A Society Of Wolves" (1993) which Dr. L. David Mech called "A must for all wolf aficionados". Rick McIntyre, a seasonal park ranger at Denali, Yellowstone, and other wolf-populated areas, has spent many years documenting the behavior of wolves. "War against the Wolf" is currently out of print.

"Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages" (2007) by Will N. Graves is presented as a non-fiction 223 page book about wolves in Russia. There are 45,000 wolves in Russia, the second largest wolf population in the world. Graves is a wolf-hating linguist, not a scientist, and this is a poorly written propaganda book. It's completely dry, disorganized, disjointed and dishonest. Graves' fictional crap and defamation is based on stories and folklore told by the wolf-hating uneducated people of rural Russia which he translated. The book was edited by Dr. Valerius Geist of the University of Calgary, Alberta--one of the most wolf-hating places on Earth. Other wolf-haters endorse this book, such as an unethical former academic from an Alaskan university and writers for "Range Magazine", a periodical for cowboys, rednecks, and hunters. This is not reputable science or any kind of science, it's just more "Little Red Riding Hood" bullshit. Graves is obsessed with the lies of "thousands of humans killed by wolves", the many horrible diseases and parasites that wolves supposedly spread, and he actually wrote: "When humans are unable or unwilling to defend themselves, wolves attack." Canada has more wolves than Russia, in fact the largest wolf population in the world. Why are there no wolf attacks in Canada? A large Canadian newspaper offered a $100 reward for proof of an unprovoked wolf attack on a human. The money was left uncollected. Graves' fiction comes from a biased and irrational fear and ignorance which has been disproved by research done by neutral scientists. Will N. Graves is not Russian, and must be on the payroll of American hunters, ranchers and wolf-haters. He should be thrown to the wolves. They will not harm him, and maybe he will wake up from his paranoid delusions and admit he just wanted to make a fast buck with his bullshit book.

"Wolf Among Wolves" (1999) (Wolf unter Wölfen) by Dr. Werner Freund is a non-fiction book in German about Germany’s "wolf man". "When I am with the wolves, I become a wolf," Freund says. "You can't domesticate a wolf," he says, "I had to become a wolf to be able to interact with them." Freund has lived among wolves for many decades and in 1972 created a refuge for wolves in the Kammerforst forest. Wolfspark Werner Freund is currently home to more than 20 wolves from Europe, Siberia, Canada and elsewhere. The wolves are acquired as cubs from zoos or animal parks, typically when they’re 10 to 14 days old. Freund, who has raised more than 70 wolf cubs, sequesters them from the public for six months, sleeping with them and feeding them by bottle every two hours until they're ready for their first bites of meat. With such close interaction, the cubs think Freund is the she-wolf, or the alpha female of the pack. It's a bond that lasts a lifetime and it's why Freund can freely enter their territory and study their behavior close up. His book is a logical behavioral research study on wolves, treating the wolf as an individual, with his experiences of living among wolves, and details of the different attitudes people have about the wolf. It is beautifully presented with great photos. "There is this image of the evil wolf but this is too far from reality," he says. "Wolves kill in order to have something to eat, so do other animals. Wolves, like people, are social creatures." His Wolfpark Werner Freund is in Merzig, Germany, about an hour west of Kaiserslautern in the Kammerforst forest. Admission is free.

"Never Cry Wolf" (1963) by Farley Mowat is a non-fiction book about Canadian naturalist and author Mowat's research into the nature of the Arctic wolf. Presented as a first-person narrative, it has been credited for dramatically changing the public image of the wolf to a more positive one. In 1948-1949, Canada's Dominion Wildlife Service assigned Mowat to investigate the declining caribou populations and determine whether wolves were to blame. Mowat's account of the summer he lived in the frozen tundra alone studying the wolf population shows a deep affection for the wolves and for a friendly Inuit tribe known as the Ihalmiut. Near Nueltin Lake, Mowat discovered the wolves subsisted quite heavily on small mammals such as rodents and hares, even choosing them over caribou. Mowat dispelled myths of wolves as bloodthirsty, marauding monsters, and showed them to be gentle, caring, and family-oriented monogamous animals. He never felt threatened by his wolf companions, despite living close to them. At one point he entered their den and witnessed "George, Angeline, and Uncle Albert" nurturing young cubs and hosting a pack of traveling wolves. The local humans were actually hunting the caribou for sport and a food source. Mowat feared an onslaught of wolf hunters and government exterminators intent on the extinction of the wolf. The Canadian Wildlife Service argued that the agency had never demanded the extermination of the wolf, which was recognized as an integral part of the northern ecosystem. CWS official Alexander William Francis Banfield, who supervised Mowat's field work, characterised the book as "semi-fictional", and accused Mowat of blatantly lying about his expedition. And John Goddard wrote a heavily researched article in which he stated, "As for the authenticity of his wolf story, he virtually abandoned his wolf-den observations after less than four weeks." Mowat dismissed Goddard's article as, "bullshit, pure and simple". In his preface to "Never Cry Wolf", Mowat wrote: "We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be--the mythological epitome of a savage, ruthless killer--which is, in reality, no more than the reflected image of ourself." Farley Mowat had a notorious reputation at the U.S. State Department, which banned his entry into the United States. His book was translated into Russian and published in the Soviet Union, leading to a public reaction against Soviet wolf-culling efforts. According to Soviet biologist Mikhail P. Pavlov, the Communist Party banned wolf hunting and restricted gun ownership in wolf inhabited areas. This is significant, considering the U.S.S.R. had the largest population of wolves in the world. Since the book was published, the public image of the wolf has greatly improved and wolves have been reintroduced to Yellowstone Park. However, we must keep in mind that this book is about wolves in Canada, with the world's largest population of wolves by far (about 60,000). Russia has 45,000. Wolves have no protection whatsoever in Canada, and the country exports most of the world's wolf pelts. Only the American state of Alaska is as anti-wolf as Canada. Although Farley Mowat is Canadian and "Never Cry Wolf" is credited with shifting the mythology and fear of wolves, he has had zero impact on public opinion or government policies regarding wolves in Canada. A movie of this book was made in 1983, and here is a link to Lone Wolf's review of the film: http://lonewolfsullivan.blogspot.com/2009/07/never-cry-wolf-1983.html

"White Wolf: Living With an Arctic Legend" (1990) by Jim Brandenburg is a 160 page account of Arctic wolves on Ellesmere Island. Brandenburg's extensive work photographing wolves has been vital in focusing attention on the animal's status and he was instrumental in reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone Park. He serves on the board of directors for Defenders of Wildlife Foundation, Concerts for the Environment, and Wolf Ridge Learning Center. An award-winning photographer for National Geographic for over 30 years, Brandenburg repeatedly visited a desolate island near the northern coast of Greenland to capture its wildlife on film. Ellesmere Island is so remote, the wolves and other animals that live there have rarely seen humans and show little fear of them, which allowed Brandenburg to take some exceptional photos in 1988. Brandenburg filmed a pack of wild Arctic wolves on Ellesmere Island that shows the wolf as a loving and compassionate family-oriented animal that is as wild at heart as they come. These highly intelligent creatures seemed to stay a step ahead of their distant watchers. This leads to some hilarious encounters with lots of amazing wolf and landscape photos, although some people might be disturbed by a few dead animals in the pictures. The dramatic beauty of these pictures makes "White Wolf" a standout among nature books, although its wide, low format (9 ½ by 12 ½ inches) makes it awkward to hold and read. Elegant text about the lives of the wolves is educational and the book has a tear jerking conclusion.

"Brother Wolf: A Forgotten Promise" (1993) by Jim Brandenburg is a touching sequel to "White Wolf: Living With an Arctic Legend". In this photographic journey, Brandenburg takes us on a tour of the land surrounding his cabin home in the woods of northern Minnesota. The images in this masterpiece of wolves, eagles, lynx, pine martins, deer, ravens, and other wildlife will leave you spellbound. Most of the photographs are breathtaking, some are haunting, and there are 140 color photos of timber wolves in their natural habitat. But the photos are perhaps just the icing on the cake, because the powerful and captivating narrative is very informative, although it may be less interesting than the photos for some. The book starts with an emotional "letter" from wolves to men, focusing on how humans and wolves used to live together in harmony, and how men are now killers of wolves and other creatures. The letter ends with "I do not think I know you anymore". He explains his first encounter with wolves and how he felt at that time. Overall, the book has a great text with even greater photographs, and is definitely a good read that may revolutionize our thinking about wolves, human nature, our primeval past, and the survival of our planet. This sequel conveys the history in words and photographic images of the relationship between wolves and men--and urges us all to realize that the wolf's future is our future.

"Scruffy: A Wolf Finds His Place in the Pack" (2000) by Jim Brandenburg is a 32 page book for young children. Award-winning photographer and nature writer Brandenburg chronicles the life of a young Arctic wolf he names "Scruffy". During the several months he spent on Ellesmere Island near the Arctic Circle, Brandenburg observed a yearling Arctic wolf and wondered if he would ever fit into the hierarchy of the pack. Scruffy was an awkward misfit and his fur was "by far the messiest". He describes Scruffy's "goofy" ways, harsh treatment by others in the pack, and unsuccessful attempts to handle tasks that came easily to most of the others. But once the pack's new litter emerged from the den, Scruffy's role became clear. When the pack left for a hunt, Scruffy was the sole protector, teacher, and playmate to the cubs, making sure they survived the first year in their harsh Arctic home. Scruffy then had an important place in the pack. Readers are given a fascinating look at the social structure of wolves, although Brandenburg occasionally lapses into anthropomorphism with references to human emotions and sensibilities. This book educates children about wolves by covering issues of dominant and submissive roles within the pack, the role of the Omega wolf (Scruffy's place in the pack), and the hardships of wolves' lives in the Arctic. The text is clearly-written in large print, and the color photos are excellent. Several are quite amazing, capturing Scruffy cowering one moment, growling and fully in charge the next. However, the book's design is disappointing. The text and neatly bordered full-color pictures are on pale gray or gray-green paper imprinted with an overexposed and over-used photo, a design that makes the pages busy and crowded. Still, there's much information, especially about wolf pack hierarchy and the way nature tries to find a place for all. This book is currently out of print.

"The Arctic Wolf: Ten Years With the Pack" (1997) by Dr. L. David Mech, Ph.D. is a 144 page non-fiction book by the Senior Research Scientist at USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. Dr. Mech has studied wolves and their prey full-time since 1958, and has studied the same pack of wolves in the Arctic since the mid-1980s. Mech is the foremost expert on wolves in the USA, possibly in the world. He shared his discoveries and adventures in the bestselling classic "The Artic Wolf: Living With the Pack" in 1988. A special 10 year anniversary edition has been published with dozens of new photographs and the latest news about the pack, along with his original text and photographs. Internationally acclaimed wildlife research biologist "Wolfman" Dr. L. David Mech has published many books, including:
"The Wolves of Isle Royale" (1966);
"The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species" (1970);
"The Wolves of Minnesota: Howl in the Heartland" (2000);
"The Wolves of Denali" (1998);
"The Way of the Wolf" (1991); and
"Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation" (2003).
"The Arctic Wolf: Ten Years With the Pack" is an engrossing first-person account that documents the scientist's landmark expedition to the High Arctic to fulfill his lifelong dream of studying the lives of wolves there. He gained the trust of a pack of wolves on Ellesmere Island. This edition is about the Ellesmere wolf pack and how it changed since Mech first visited ten years ago, somewhat reminiscent of Farley Mowat's "Never Cry Wolf", except that Mech is more scientific and came prepared. Mech has a scientist's writing style. His first priority is to make the text completely truthful, and his second is to make it clear and readable. He does very well for both. But the scientific approach has a drawback--it's very difficult to write a scientific book that is easy to read and enjoyable. Mech doesn't have that talent. The main let-down is the way Mech sometimes explains the hard facts, gives a glimpse of the wolves' nature and then changes the subject. But it's a great read nonetheless. His captivating and spirited lavishly illustrated book was an international bestseller in 1988.

"Wolves at Our Door: The Extraordinary Story of the Couple Who Lived With Wolves" (2002) by James Dutcher is a 320 page book supplement to his Emmy Award-winning documentary of the same title broadcast on the Discovery Channel, it's highest-rated natural history documentary ever. The book chronicles the experiences of Jim and Jamie Dutcher, who spent six years in a tented camp caring for a pack of wolves in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. The personalities of the wolves, and their interactions with each other and with the Dutchers provide an inspiring portrait of the intricacies of animal behavior, and makes a subtle plea for the conservation of the wolf. It's about the Dutcher's struggle to keep their project alive amid marauding mountain lions, forest fires, subzero temperatures, and the controversy that surrounds the wolf. They created a 20 acre enclosure for the wolves, moved their own quarters inside of it, and reveal the logistical problems of wildlife filming. By socializing with the pack from the time they were cubs, the Dutchers were able to gain the wolves' trust and observe their behavior in a way that few people ever have. What they witnessed was remarkable: a complex animal oriented toward family life and strong social bonds. The reader gets to know the various wolf personalities, including Kamots, the calm regal Alpha wolf who comforts Jim by placing a paw on his hand; Matsi, the gentle Beta; and Lakota, the slump-shouldered, tail-dragging Omega who is also the joker of the pack. A chapter is devoted to each wolf. Most of the fighting occurs among the mid-ranking wolves who are not secure in their status and must assert themselves over the Omega and each other frequently. And Lakota, the Omega male in this pack, was one of the biggest, most physically powerful wolves, hinting that fighting prowess might be less important than other undefined factors in determining status. Episodes of tragedy and mourning, as when a wolf is killed by cougars, are contrasted by moments of exuberance and touching inter-species communication. The Dutchers describe how the wolves dance with delight in the snows of winter, compete for status, and entertain themselves with complex social role-playing. A basic disagreement between Jim and WERC, the organization he founds but which eventually throws him out, seems to be based on whether the wolves should be managed by people or should live largely without human contact. There is almost no insight into the financial end of their project. The writing is very good, lucid, evocative, clear, concise, and very accessible to the reader.

"Arctic Wild" (1968) is a 352 page non-fiction 1956 memoir by Lois Crisler about a husband and wife documentary team who went to the most remote wilderness in North America, Alaska's Brooks Range. Their mission: to film caribou and other wild life for 18 months as an assignment from Walt Disney. In the early 1950's with the crudest of survival gear, the couple started filming caribou but then wolves entered the picture, earning the Crisler's a place among the classics of natural history. The story begins like many outdoor adventure yarns: extreme living conditions, the occasional grizzly encounter, and much work. Several times during the year a bush pilot would drop supplies and mail, and make sure that all was well. Then the Crislers adopt two orphaned wolf cubs, a male and a female. The result is a discovery of wolf development and behavior they never expected. Treating the humans as part of their pack, the cubs grow into adult wolves. Their progression is described in detail, such as their learning to howl: "Sometimes (the female) ululated, drawing her tongue up and down her mouth like a trombone slide. Sometimes on a long note she held the tip of her tongue curled against the roof of her mouth. She shaped her notes with her cheeks, retracting them for plangency, or holding the sound within them for horn notes. She must have had pleasure and sensitiveness about her song for if I entered on her note she instantly shifted by a note or two: wolves avoid unison singing; they like chords." The wolves display individual personalities, exceptional intelligence, and highly articulated physical gestures. One curiously investigates a sleeping human by lifting an eyelid with its tooth. The Crislers reveal a highly developed social animal rather than the bloodthirsty murderer of ancient myths. "Arctic Wild" earns it fame as one of the first books to explore wolf habits in an accessible manner that is free of lies and politics. In the foreword to the reprint edition, wolf research biologist Dr. L. David Mech notes that "Arctic Wild" introduced to a skeptical and generally wolf-fearing public the animal's "beguiling personality". The book was the first voice in the wilderness that led to a gathering howl and finally the once-inconceivable reintroduction of wolves to former ranges like Yellowstone National Park. There are 32 pages of photographs in "Arctic Wild: The Remarkable True Story of One Couple's Adventures Living Among Wolves".

"Three Among the Wolves: A Couple and Their Dog Live a Year with Wolves in the Wild" (2004) by Helen Thayer is a 256 page non-fiction book about Helen and Bill Thayer, who lived among wild wolf packs in the Canadian Yukon and then in the Arctic. They were accompanied by their hybrid wolf Charlie (part wolf, part Husky). The trio set up camp within 100 feet of a wolf den, and were greeted with apprehension at first. They established trust over time, because the wolves accepted Charlie as the Alpha male of the newly arrived "pack". The Thayers discovered the complexities of the wolf pack, including how cubs are reared and how the injured are cared for. They viewed the hunt firsthand, including how ravens direct wolves to prey in exchange for carrion. We learn about the wolves' survival skills and playfulness. Charlie acted as a canine go-between that guided and protected the Thayers as they moved closer to the pack. The wolves actually attempted to lure Charlie to join them! Bill and Helen imitated Charlie’s behavior and became submissive, wolf-like strangers. They ate a vegetarian diet and tried to minimize their presence as they followed the wolves on hunting expeditions in a cold, forbidding world. Suspenseful encounters with bitter storms and bears are tempered by calmer moments with cubs and breathtaking scenery during the intimate six months they spent with the pack. In captivity wolves do not reveal their true behavior, especially the "food-sharing habits they have with land-bound animals, such as grizzlies and ravens." Helen makes it clear that wolves deserve to be part of the world community. Charlie once saved her life from a polar bear attack and is the story's star. Helen wrote, "It would have been impossible without Charlie. He was the bridge we needed to cross the gap that allowed us to live alongside wolves and share their lives." This book is the second one featuring Helen Thayer and Charlie. "Polar Dream" (2002) is about Thayer becoming the first woman (and oldest person at 50) to walk and ski solo to the Magnetic North Pole. The National Geographic Society and National Public Radio have named her as one of the great explorers of the 20th Century. She is a recipient of many awards and was honored by the White House. Her book is a breezy very readable true-life adventure tale combined with a fascinating natural history of the wolf. Thayer’s smooth writing style moves the story along quickly, and using Charlie as the main focus adds a new twist to this nature story. It is beautifully descriptive, compassionate, and occasionally humorous. Dozens of photographs taken during this adventure are sprinkled throughout.

"In Praise of Wolves" (1997) by R. D. Lawrence is a non-fiction book about the award-winning field biologist's journey to Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the spring of 1983 to live among and observe a captive pack of wild wolves. The result is an extraordinary look inside the society of the much-maligned and persecuted wolf. Ronald Douglas Lawrence (1921 - 2003) was a Canadian naturalist and wildlife author. He wrote about wolves in layman's terms and did not get too deep for the average person to become overwhelmed with the subject. Always the perfect nature writer, this time Lawrence spends time in a captive wolf area studying the wolves and relating the details. His goal seems to convert people to admire these wise and beautiful animals as he explains their traits, characteristics and personalities. He also describes the hierarchy of the pack, the mating of the wolves, and interaction between the pack members and with humans. The information filled book contains data suggesting that the wolves have a hierarchical social structure most close to humans when we act on our animal level. Wolf lovers will probably enjoy this book in which Lawrence describes his love affair with wolves and details his many adventures with them. Others may find the book wordy, overly anecdotal, rambling, and tedious. "In Praise of Wolves" is currently out of print.

"Wolf Totem" (2004) (狼 腾) is a semi-autobiographical novel by Jiang Rong about the experiences of a young student from Beijing who is sent to the countryside of Inner Mongolia in 1967 at the height of China's Cultural Revolution. It is narrated by protagonist Chen Zhen, a young man in his 20s. The book compares the culture of the Mongolian nomads and the Han Chinese farmers who settle in their territory, condemning the agricultural collectivization imposed on the nomads by the settlers and the ecological disasters it causes. Zhen accidentally stumbles across a pack of wolves. Terrified, he watches as the wolves chase a herd of sheep off a cliff, then drag their corpses into a cave. Fascinated by the wolves, he begins to study them and their relationship with the nomads more closely, and even attempts to tame one as a pet. The novel has sold over 4 million copies in China and received more than 10 literary prizes. It spawned a children's version titled "Little Wolf, Little Wolf", and a big budget movie adaptation is to be produced by the Forbidden City Film Company. "Jiang Rong" is the pen name of Lü Jiamin, who keeps a low profile for political reasons. He's an economics research professor at a university in Beijing.

"The Great American Wolf" (1997) by Bruce Hampton is a 320 page scholarly history book that tells the American wolf's history in the last 300 hundred years. Hampton worked as a wildlife biologist in Alaska and the Rocky Mountains and was a member of the team that searched for wolves near Yellowstone Park in the 1970's. What was once North America's most reviled beast, pursued to extinction throughout the US, has become in the last half century a symbol of the wilderness, tolerated and even desired over much of its former range. Hampton presents a well-researched account of an organized program, from the 1890's to the present, to eliminate wolves. "Hundreds of thousands of wolves were trapped, poisoned, shot, or dynamited in their dens," Hampton writes. Many suffered deaths that carried the marks of revenge, such as being burned alive or scalped. Others had their mouths wired shut or their eyes pierced with branding irons before being released to starve to death. But Native American Indians hold the animals in high esteem, and the author presents a wonderful chapter on their beliefs, stories, myths, and feelings about them. An ecological and evolutionary history of the species is also included. The social structure of a wolf pack resembles human society, and Hampton introduces his readers to well-known wolves with unique personalities. Jeffrey Masson wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "It is a detailed historical account of every wolf killed in America, from colonial times to the present. Persecuted and nearly hunted to death, only to recently make a spectacular comeback... We owe a debt of gratitude to Bruce Hampton for reminding us of this noble and enlightened view, one now shared by the majority of thinking people in America, just in time to save wolves from the genocide our ancestors had planned for them." With an excellent index, bibliography, and listing of source notes, this even-handed, judicious book provides an interesting slice of American history and sociology, a look at a culture's changing attitudes about the wolf.

"The Ethiopian Wolf" (2002) by Fred H. Harrington is a 24 page non-fiction children's book that is part of the 6 book series "Wolves and Wild Dogs". All were published in 2002. "The Gray Wolf" discusses the physical characteristics, habitat, behavior, and life cycle of the gray wolf. "The Red Wolf" provides a valuable lesson on food webs, interconnections, and the importance of preservation and conservation for the survival of healthy ecosystems. "The Arctic Wolf" discusses this sub-species, including how it survives in a harsh climate, its physical characteristics and food supply. "The Ethiopian Wolf" discusses the social, biological, physiological makeup, behavior, and eating habits of the Ethiopian wolf. Very few people have ever even heard of the Ethiopian wolf, found only in isolated pockets of mountainous Ethiopia, where it is listed as critically endangered. With less than 1,000 individuals estimated to exist, the future of this rare wolf depends almost entirely on human efforts. All 4 books provide basic information about each wolf sub-species, such as where it lives and what it eats. The language is simple enough for children, with the few difficult words such as "feral" in boldface type and defined in the glossary. All have the same layout, with one page of text facing a full-page photo. Occasionally an additional image is included on the text page. The pictures are clear, attractive and appealing. Although the information doesn't go beyond a basic encyclopedia article, it is sufficient for a child and the illustrations are good. "The Library of Wolves and Wild Dogs" also includes "The Dingo" (2002) by Janice Koler-Matznick and "The African Wild Dog" (2002) by J.D. Murdoch and M.S. Becker.

"Wolves of the World: Perspectives of Behavior, Ecology and Conservation" (1982) by Fred H. Harrington and Paul C. Paquet is a comprehensive 474 page book about the behavior and ecology of wild wolves in North America, Europe, Eurasia, Israel, and Iran. It also discusses wolf behavior in captivity and methods of conservation. Part of the "Noyes Series in Animal Behavior, Ecology, Conservation & Management", the writing is scientific and the book has been used as a textbook in classrooms around the world. Here is an excerpt about the hunting of wolves:
"Wolves are usually hunted for sport, for their skins, to protect livestock, and in some rare cases to protect humans. Historically, the hunting of wolves was a huge, capital and manpower intensive operation, requiring miles of netting, specialized net-carts and big drying sheds for storing and drying nets. The threat wolves posed to both livestock and people was significant enough to warrant the conscription of whole villages under threat of punishment, despite the disruption of economic activities and reduced taxes. Some cultures, such as the Apache, would hunt wolves as a rite of passage. Wolves are usually hunted in heavy brush and are considered especially challenging to hunt, due to their elusive nature and sharp senses. Wolves are notoriously shy and difficult to kill, having been stated to be almost as hard to still hunt as cougars, and being far more problematic to dispatch with poison, traps or hounds. Wolves though generally do not defend themselves as effectively as cougars or bears. Some wolves will evade capture for very long periods of time and display great cunning. One specimen nicknamed "Three Toes of Harding County" in South Dakota eluded its pursuers for 13 years before finally being caught. Another wolf nicknamed "Rags the digger" near Meeker, Colorado would deliberately ruin trap lines by digging up traps without tripping them. In Sport hunting, wolves are usually taken in late Autumn and early Winter, when their pelts are of the highest quality and because the heavy snow makes it easier for the wolves to be tracked. Wolves have occasionally been hunted for food, the meat having been variously described as being tough and tasting like chicken."

"Once A Wolf: How Wildlife Biologists Fought to Bring Back the Gray Wolf" (2001) by Stephen R. Swinburne is a 48 page non-fiction book for teenagers that surveys the history of the relationship between wolves and humans, examines why they are a valuable part of the ecosystem, and describes the conservation movement to restore them to the wild. The book traces the persecution of the wolf throughout history, its extermination in many countries, and also reveals the role scientists have played in wolf preservation. Drawing on myth, legend, history, and science, Swinburne recounts the efforts of conservationists to reintroduce the wolf to the American landscape. Wolf behavior, social structure, myth-busting, the Yellowstone project, and the wolf's future prospects are also covered. Swinburne provides information and quotes from Leopold, Mech, Bangs, Askins, and many others. This book is a moving, thoughtful and highly-informative lesson in ecology for children of all ages, with clear, cogent writing. Award winning Jim Brandenburg provides the powerful and stunning photographs that reflect the quiet dignity of the much maligned wolf.

"Tales of the Wolf: Fifty-One Stories of Wolf Encounters in the Wild" (1995) is a 320 page compilation of stories collected together by Denise Casey and Tim W. Clark, with illustrations by Beth Krommes. The "high concept" title tells us everything about the book. It explains the role of European fables, myths, and biblical interpretations that created the Western hatred for wolves. Then there are the 51 stories. In one an anonymous highly astute European writer observed from British colonial India in 1927: "As a good European, I inherit a whole huddle of dark neolithic fears which the poets and magicians and schoolmasters of my tribe have sedulously kept alive through the safe, comfortable centuries. I am not to blame. From my cradle have I been bidden, enjoined, and commanded to fear the wolf. He tears you to pieces alive and digs you up when you are dead, and before the maid has time to run to your frantic ringing he pulls you down on your own threshold. Between the pillarbox and the front-door he pulls you down, in the dark, after tea. No, I am not to blame."

"The Return of the Wolf" (1992) (3rd edition 2005) by Steve Grooms is a 160 page non-fiction book that provides a comprehensive picture of the North American wolf population and its management. Grooms is an expert and chronicler of wolves. He states, "People used to view wolves imperfectly through filters of greed and fear; they now view them imperfectly through filters of guilt and romance." Although he overestimates the wolf's importance by postulating that Adam and Eve disagreed about wolves in the world's first argument, he covers the reintroduction of the wolf to Yellowstone National Park and relates the negative perception of wolves throughout history. In the 15th-century, wolves were associated with promiscuity and early American settlers saw them "as impediments to Manifest Destiny". He describes wolf anatomy and biology, and explains wolf management strategies in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. There is a section on Canada's wolves, the restoration of the Red Wolf in the southeast, the Mexican Wolf in the southwest, and Gray Wolves in the Great Lakes Region and in Yellowstone. Also are updates on five raging wolf controversies, including plans to remove protection for some wolves. At the end, Grooms provides a good summary, including an overview of wolf advocacy groups. He gives a short description of each, as well as providing website addresses for further reference. The third edition of this best-selling, award-winning classic about the most misunderstood animal on earth is completely updated, redesigned, and features stunning new color photos. Clearly written, informative, factual, fair, balanced, and moderate in tone, Grooms' writing style is simple and fluid, making the book accessible to everyone. "The Return of the Wolf" contains a wealth of good information.

"The Company Of Wolves" (1996) by Peter Steinhart is a 400 page non-fiction examination of why wolves have featured so prominently in debates about natural preservation and the roles of predators. Humans either hate wolves or love them. This book is not a treatise on wolf biology but a study of the relationship between humans and wolves in the wolves' last refuges in the Arctic and in places where the two species live together. Steinhart speaks with wolf biologists, wildlife managers, trappers, ranchers, Native Americans, and others. Though it is clear where Steinhart's sympathies lie, the book is balanced between the wolves' advocates and their opponents. It has everything from views on the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone Park to the controversial scientific status of the red wolf. Though Steinhart is sympathetic to the idea of having wolves in the wild, he deliberately takes a many-sided view, and tries to understand the motivations of wolf lovers, wolf haters, and researchers of all types. Ranchers and even a retired wolf-bounty hunter find sympathetic portrayals here. Each chapter combines a theme with Steinhart's discussions of some person relevant to the theme. For instance, the chapter on howling focuses on Algonquin Provincial Park and its summer wolf howls, built around discussions with John Theberge who started researching Algonquin's wolves by howling at them. The most amusing of these subject-and-person pairings is the chapter on wolf pack social organization, in which Dr. L. David Mech is characterized as the Apha male of wolf research. "The Company Of Wolves" contains a few factual errors. One of these concerns Ghost Ranch Museum, at Abiquiu, New Mexico, called "a Department of Game and Fish facility." It was in fact owned by the U.S. Forest Service and was never acquired by the game department. An authoritative and eloquent book, arguments are balanced and well presented, but it suffers from an overall lack of depth. The book was published as political changes brought challenges to the structure and existence of the Endangered Species Act. Steinhart's support of the wolf goes beyond ecological arguments to explore our spiritual need for the company of wolves, a species with which we evolved.

"Journey of the Red Wolf" (1996) by Roland Smith is a 60 page non-fiction book about the red wolf's near-extinction, captivity, and reintroduction to the wild. Although it once flourished throughout North America, the red wolf was prey to ranchers, farmers, and natural enemies until it became nearly extinct in the mid-1960's. In 1971 the last 17 red wolves were taken into captivity in an attempt to preserve the sub-species, then in the late 1980's they were reintroduced into the wild. Smith compares this cinnamon-colored wolf with other wolves and coyotes, explains how it came to the brink of extinction, and describes the systematic work of biologists and conservationists to nurture the red wolves. Long actively involved in the breeding and re-introduction of red wolves into the wild, Smith delivers behind-the-scenes details about his efforts, generously illustrating his fascinating account with many intimate full color photographs of newborn cubs and views of the facilities designed to house the wolves. His straightforward writing style shows his knowledge of the habits of the red wolf, the problems encountered in caring for captured animals, and the many obstacles met in re-establishing the endangered species in the wild. The use of dialogue at the beginning of each chapter draws in the reader and he explains how the Red Wolf Recovery Program is working to save the sub-species from extinction. Roland Smith is a zookeeper turned children's author.

"Wolves at Our Door: The Extraordinary Story of the Couple Who Lived With Wolves" (2002) by James Dutcher is a 320 page book supplement to his Emmy Award-winning documentary of the same title broadcast on the Discovery Channel, it's highest-rated natural history documentary ever. The book chronicles the experiences of Jim and Jamie Dutcher, who spent six years in a tented camp caring for a pack of wolves in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. The personalities of the wolves, and their interactions with each other and with the Dutchers provide an inspiring portrait of the intricacies of animal behavior, and makes a subtle plea for the conservation of the wolf. It's about the Dutcher's struggle to keep their project alive amid marauding mountain lions, forest fires, subzero temperatures, and the controversy that surrounds the wolf. They created a 20 acre enclosure for the wolves, moved their own quarters inside of it, and reveal the logistical problems of wildlife filming. By socializing with the pack from the time they were cubs, the Dutchers were able to gain the wolves' trust and observe their behavior in a way that few people ever have. What they witnessed was remarkable: a complex animal oriented toward family life and strong social bonds. The reader gets to know the various wolf personalities, including Kamots, the calm regal Alpha wolf who comforts Jim by placing a paw on his hand; Matsi, the gentle Beta; and Lakota, the slump-shouldered, tail-dragging Omega who is also the joker of the pack. A chapter is devoted to each wolf. Most of the fighting occurs among the mid-ranking wolves who are not secure in their status and must assert themselves over the Omega and each other frequently. And Lakota, the Omega male in this pack, was one of the biggest, most physically powerful wolves, hinting that fighting prowess might be less important than other undefined factors in determining status. Episodes of tragedy and mourning, as when a wolf is killed by cougars, are contrasted by moments of exuberance and touching inter-species communication. The Dutchers describe how the wolves dance with delight in the snows of winter, compete for status, and entertain themselves with complex social role-playing. A basic disagreement between Jim and WERC, the organization he founds but which eventually throws him out, seems to be based on whether the wolves should be managed by people or should live largely without human contact. There is almost no insight into the financial end of their project. The writing is very good, lucid, evocative, clear, concise, and very accessible to the reader.