American outlet sale Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession online sale in the West outlet sale

American outlet sale Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession online sale in the West outlet sale

American outlet sale Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession online sale in the West outlet sale

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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The enthralling true story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her.
 
Before men ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West.

With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth. Uncommonly powerful, with gray fur and faint black ovals around each eye, O-Six is a kind and merciful leader, a fiercely intelligent fighter, and a doting mother. She is beloved by wolf watchers, particularly renowned naturalist Rick McIntyre, and becomes something of a social media star, with followers around the world.

But as she raises her pups and protects her pack, O-Six is challenged on all fronts: by hunters, who compete with wolves for the elk they both prize; by cattle ranchers who are losing livestock and have the ear of politicians; and by other Yellowstone wolves who are vying for control of the park’s stunningly beautiful Lamar Valley.

These forces collide in American Wolf, a riveting multigenerational saga of hardship and triumph that tells a larger story about the ongoing cultural clash in the West—between those fighting for a vanishing way of life and those committed to restoring one of the country’s most iconic landscapes.

Review

A New York Times Book Review Editors'' Choice
Shortlisted for the 2018 J. Anthony Lukas Prize
An Outside Magazine Best Book of 2017
A Science Friday Best Science Book of 2017


“Blakeslee draws O-Six in novelistic... detail, using the conflicting insight and perspective of biologists, politicians, ranchers, environmentalists, lawyers, other animals, and hunters.... Seeing a wolf is exceptionally rare, and this book is as close as most readers will come.” 
The New Yorker

“A matriarch overthrown in what seems fairly described as a ''putsch,'' marauding gangs running attacks into neighboring territory, an hours-long standoff with a grizzly, a discarded water bottle—a rarity in the wilderness of a national park—tossed around and protected like a prized new toy. The lives of the wolves in Yellowstone are often dramatic, but are full of touching, tender moments too, as Nate Blakeslee vividly writes in American Wolf.”
Los Angeles Times
 
"The story of one wolf’s struggle to survive in the majestic Yellowstone National Park offers an ambitious look through the eyes of an endangered animal."
New York Times Book Review

“Ambitious... a significant and engaging work. It’s easy to write about the importance of local social life. It’s harder to know what to do to support it.... Klinenberg’s argument has a powerful simplicity. Look after the social infrastructure and social bonds will largely look after themselves.”
—Financial Times

American Wolf takes its place in a long lineage of wolf books.... [T]here are cherished, striking images here…testament to the ever-flowing life force that is the wolf.”
Rick Bass, New York Times Book Review

“[ American Wolf] is a startlingly intimate portrait of the intricate, loving, human-like interrelationships that govern wolves in the wild, as observed in real time by a cadre of dedicated wolf-watchers—in the end, a drama of lupine love, care, and grief.”
Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake 
 
“Wild, poignant, and compelling, American Wolf is an important, beautifully wrought book about animals, about values, and about living on this earth.”
Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin
 
“A transcendent tale of the American West."
S. C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell
 
“Gripping and fascinating! Wolf versus wolf, wolf versus man, man versus man.”
Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and Hag-Seed (via Twitter)

“In this vibrant work of nonfiction, a Texas Monthly writer goes into the mind—and heart—of a wolf. He tells the remarkable true story of O-Six, a wolf brought back to the Rockies by conservationists, as she fights hunters, cattle ranchers, and her own species for survival.”
Entertainment Weekly

“[ American Wolf] reads like a novel... a testament to the genius of Blakeslee’s tautly constructed narrative.”
Outside

“Blakeslee takes readers into the snowy [Lamar Valley], and deep into a genuinely human tale told with the energy and verve of a bestselling thriller. A tight, dense narrative, American Wolf races along like a predator on the hunt.”
—Texas Observer

“A masterful and elegant tale."
Associated Press

“Beautiful, detailed... [ American Wolf] centers on the rise, reign, and family life of O-Six, matriarch of the Lamar Canyon pack and so well-known to park visitors that the  New York Times gave her an obituary.”
Publisher''s Weekly (starred) 

“The fight... [over] Yellowstone’s wolves is embodied in O-Six’s story, told with great immediacy and empathy in a tale that reads like fiction. This one will grab readers and impel them into the heart of the conflict.”
Booklist (starred)

“Utterly compelling.... Blakeslee’s masterly use of fiction writing techniques to ratchet up the tension will hook a wide swath of readers.”         
Library Journal (starred)

“A savory blend of hardcore journalism, biodiversity analysis, weather and terrain reporting and good old-fashioned storytelling...  American Wolf is the tale of an extraordinary wolf and those absorbed with her storied life.”
Shelf Awareness
 
“Nate Blakeslee has achieved the Jack London-like feat of creating a great story whose main character is an animal."
Nicholas Lemann, author of The Big Test and Redemption
 
“There are so few wolves in the West that each one can cast a kind of enchantment. This fine book takes one animal, and uses it as a way to understand the vectors that whipsaw the last wild places. It will linger in your mind and heart.”
Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Radio Free Vermont

American Wolf is an intimate and riveting book about America’s most iconic and embattled predator.... A wonderful and welcome addition to the pantheon of nature literature.”
John Vaillant, author of The Tiger and The Golden Spruce

“A well-rendered story... evenhanded but clearly and rightly on the side of the wolves.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Gorgeously written, and offering stunning insights into both animal and human nature, American Wolf is a masterly feat of science journalism.”
Michael Finkel, author of The Stranger in the Woods

“Engaging... a must read for researchers, citizen scientists, and visitors to Yellowstone, where the story of the wolves continues to evolve.” 
Science

 
“As in a great novel, we are swept along in a multi-generational saga involving matters of character, courtship, and shifting social relations."
—Tom Kizzia, author of Pilgrim’s Wilderness
 
“Heartbreaking front-line coverage of our war on the wild.... Blakeslee hauntingly gives the victims faces, families, and stories. A quietly angry, aching, important book.”
Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast
 
“A compelling environmental drama of the reintroduction of wolves to the Rockies, as clear-sighted on human politics as it is on wolf politics."
—Neil Ansell, author of Deep Country
 
“The Game of Thrones story of modern western wolves, [unfolding] in just as riveting a fashion. It is an absolutely mesmerizing read.”
Dan Flores, author of Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History
 
American Wolf gives us true profiles of wolf lives lived in their actual families. And when humans get involved, the trajectory of their lives forever changes.”
Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel
 
“Written with heart, but not sentimentality, American Wolf is nothing less than Shakespearean tragedy played out against the backdrop of our troubled relationship with nature.”
J.B. MacKinnon, author of The Once and Future World

"[ American Wolf] is about the compatibility and clash between man and environment, heritage and the future, politics and practice, and seemingly countless nuances that demonstrate the complexity of the West."
Idaho Statesman

“O-Six is the definition of an alpha—strong, cunning, and a protector through and through. Her life in the wild is constantly challenged by other wolves, cattle ranchers, and hunters. It’s a “cultural clash” that will leave you on the edge of your chair.”
Departures

“[A] rich, poignant story of wolf recovery in Yellowstone and its impacts on the surrounding countryside and communities.”  
National Parks Traveler

“Blakeslee crafts a compelling narrative that allows him to explore in a profound and intimate way the cultural, political, social and economic factors that keep the presence of wolves in the West controversial.”
International Wolf

About the Author

Nate Blakeslee is a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly. His first book, Tulia, won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Texas Institute of Letters nonfiction prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. The Washington Post called Tulia one of the most important books about wrongful convictions ever written. Blakeslee lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

Return of the Wolf

The wolves drove an elk down the side of a steep, snow-covered butte under a sky close and gray. There were three wolves. The one in the lead was almost pure white. She was followed closely by her sister, a good-size gray. Several yards back and struggling to keep up was a mature black male, his snout and withers gone silver with age.

The elk had been one of many cows atop the butte; now she was alone, hurtling pell-mell toward the broad valley below, dodging the lichen-covered glacial erratics—some the size of small cabins—that dotted the hillside, leaping over what she could, and exploding straight through the sage and juniper. It was early winter, and the snow was not yet deep, offering the kind of footing that favored the elk. For such an enormous animal—at least five times heavier than any of her pursuers—she was surprisingly fast and nimble. Her chocolate ears laid back against her head, her bouncing, ovoid rump the same shade of buff as the sedge poking up through the snow, she seemed an impossible quarry.

The cow headed for the river, as her kind often did when the wolves came. The deep water offered long-legged animals an advantage: a swimming wolf has no leverage for biting and pulling. Chases often ended in stalemate this way, with an elk standing in hip-deep water, warily eyeing a pack of wolves lounging on the nearby bank as they patiently waited to see if the frigid water would force the elk back onto dry land. The refuge the cow sought was the Lamar River, not far from where it joined the Yellowstone, and on this winter morning it was frozen solid. Perhaps she didn’t know that, or perhaps in her panic she could think of nowhere else to go.

It was only five hundred yards or so from the base of the butte to the river, but once the chase reached level ground, the wolves began to close the gap. The four animals were now in single file, running flat out, pounding the snow into a fine powdery spray, like the dust under a racehorse’s hooves. The contest had become purely a matter of speed, and the canines—the primordial ancestors of the greyhound, unsullied by the inbreeding that stripped away the tiger-muscled shoulders, the massive head, the powerful jaws—ran with a raw and joyous energy that the ungulate could not match.

As the race neared its climax, it was the gray who stood out. Her body seemed to stretch and elongate as the ground swept beneath her. Her legs were long—much longer than a dog’s—and her hips narrow, like a cheetah’s. She held her tail straight out, and her head was a flattened triangle. She was an arrow, and by comparison the elk suddenly seemed not only clumsy but also excessively—sadly, fatally—upright. Every time the cow missed a step, stumbling slightly in a pocket of deep snow, she had less time to recover, until finally there was no time at all.

The wolves pulled her down in a frozen marsh between two icy ponds.

About a quarter of a mile away, a man stood on the side of a road watching the wolves eat. His name was Rick McIntyre, and he worked for the National Park Service. Bundled in a heavy black down coat that extended past his waist, only the familiar forest green of his pants marked him as a park employee. He was in an area of Yellowstone known as Little America, where the Lamar River swept through a series of low hills and rocky knolls in the park’s mountainous Northern Range. Rick was sixty years old, though with his ramrod posture and tall, lean frame, his age was hard to guess, especially with a stocking cap covering his thinning red hair.

He was surveying the scene through a spotting scope, a kind of tripod-mounted telescope used for watching wildlife. Every so often he reached inside his coat and pulled a microcassette recorder from the breast pocket of his uniform and described what he was seeing. Just a few words, economical and to the point. Then the recorder disappeared back into the coat. For the most part, he stood motionless behind his scope, silently watching. It was nine a.m. on December 12, 2009, and it was the 3,467th day in a row that he had spent in the park, looking for wolves. It was getting close to lunchtime for Rick, who had been awake since about four that morning. The wolves were often active at dawn, and he liked to be in place when the landscape first became visible, about a half hour before actual sunrise.

Both the male and the white female in his scope, a mated pair, wore thick leather collars with radio transmitters attached, which was how he’d found them. Every pack in Yellowstone had at least one wolf that had been darted from a helicopter, collared, and assigned a number by the park’s small team of wolf biologists. Each morning Rick drove until the antenna on the roof of his yellow Nissan SUV picked up a wolf’s unique signal, and then he stepped out into the darkness to scan the nearby landscape with his handheld receiver.

As he watched the trio of wolves tugging at the elk carcass, Rick found his eye drawn back to the gray female. She had no collar, which meant she had not been given a number, but she did have a nickname: O-Six, for the year in which she had been born. At this range, his scope revealed every detail; she might as well have been sitting at his feet. She was a wonderful specimen, with a dense coat and a heavier physique than most females, who averaged around ninety pounds.

Not much usually distinguished one black wolf from another, but every gray was different. O-Six had unusually attractive markings—a faint black oval around each eye, offset by twin wedges of white along the bridge of her nose. Her cheeks were also white, and an unbroken streak of gray ran from the tip of her head to the end of her nose, tapering off into buff along the sides of her snout. The overall effect was of a vaguely owl-like mask, which gave her a look of quiet concentration.

She had been born a member of the Agate Creek Pack, in a den about five miles to the south, not far from where Agate Creek spilled into the chossy, sulfurous canyon that held the Yellowstone River. After leaving her pack as a yearling, she had been more or less on the run for the last two years, looking for a mate and a territory of her own.

So far she had been unsuccessful. Rick had observed her mating with five different males the previous winter without settling down with any of them, which was unusual behavior for a lone female. It was also hazardous. Young wolves had to leave their natal packs in order to find a mate, but outside their home territory, alone, they were in constant danger. Almost every part of Yellowstone’s landscape belonged to one pack or another, and the various tribes patrolled their holdings relentlessly. Lone wolves caught trespassing could count on being chased, and entire packs occasionally clashed with one another, especially along the borders of adjoining territories. Territorial conflict was the most common cause of death for the park’s wolves, most of whom didn’t live beyond four or five years. Life for wolves was an adventure, but it was usually not a long one.

At three and a half, O-Six had already reached middle age. Unless she found a mate soon, her prospects for survival were not good. Had she been a male, it might have been different; young males unable to find a mate were sometimes accepted into other packs. Such subordinate males were generally not allowed to breed—only the alpha male had that privilege—but they at least had a chance to take over from an aging alpha one day. Packs usually had just a single breeding female, the alpha, who tended to reject any newcomer who might bear pups of her own. Few lone wolves of either gender ever found what they were seeking: they either returned to their natal pack or died alone far from home.

Yet O-Six had a knack for not getting caught, and her moxie had made her one of Rick’s favorites. In recent months, she’d been tagging along with the collared pair in his scope—one of whom was her older sister and the other an unrelated male—as they hunted the outer reaches of Agate territory, pushing farther and farther north in search of unclaimed habitat.

It was an arrangement unlikely to last. O-Six was an outstanding hunter, which made her an asset to her companions, but there wasn’t much in the deal for her. Once her sister had pups with her new mate in the spring, she would be the alpha female of their new pack. O-Six would have to defer to her in every regard for as long as she remained healthy and fit to breed. Rick couldn’t imagine it. O-Six simply didn’t fit the mold of the beta female, content to wait her turn for a chance to lead and to have pups of her own. She didn’t have the temperament for it.

O-Six’s great-grandmother had been one of the first wolves reintroduced to the park, captured on the plains of western Canada, eight hundred miles to the north, and ferried south by plane and truck in the winter of 1995. By that time, Yellowstone had been essentially devoid of wolves for almost seven decades. Once found in virtually every habitat between the Arctic Circle and present-day Mexico City, gray wolves had been the target of a centuries-long campaign of trapping and poisoning—a war waged both for their valuable pelts and to protect livestock. They were all but eliminated by the 1920s across the vast majority of the Lower 48.

The last wolves believed to have been born in Yellowstone—a pair of pups discovered near Soda Butte Creek, about fifteen miles east of where Rick was now standing—were shot in 1926. They were killed not by poachers, but by park rangers. Almost from the time the park was created, in 1872, early superintendents had pursued a rigorous predator-control program, aimed chiefly at protecting the big game animals—elk, deer, moose, and bighorn sheep—that were considered Yellowstone’s prime attractions. Rangers patrolling on horseback finished the job the trappers had started: finding active dens, destroying the pups, and then trapping or tracking the returning adults so they could be killed as well.

As a science, wildlife management was still in its infancy, and park officials genuinely believed that predators would eventually decimate the park’s prey population if left to their own devices. They didn’t realize that wolves and elk had coexisted in Yellowstone for thousands of years, that the two species had in fact evolved in tandem with each other—which explained why the elk could run just as fast as the wolf but no faster. Wolves were the driving force behind the evolution of a wide variety of prey species in North America after the last ice age, literally molding the natural world around them. The massive size of the moose, the nimbleness of the white-tailed deer, the uncanny balance of the bighorn sheep—the architect of these and countless other marvels was the wolf.

Nor did Yellowstone’s early managers understand what would happen to an ecosystem without predators. Once the wolves were gone, the ungulate population in the park exploded, and the quality of the range quickly began to deteriorate. Overgrazed hillsides eroded, and stream banks denuded of woody shrubs began to crumble, damaging prime trout habitat. Elk browsing at their leisure, undisturbed by predators, decimated stands of young aspen and willow. Too many animals on the landscape brought starvation and disease, and the elk population followed a boom-and-bust cycle.

By the 1930s, Yellowstone officials had no choice but to do what they had done with the wolves. They started quietly culling the park’s enormous elk herds, shooting thousands of animals in an average year (usually in the winter, when few visitors were around to see the carnage). This continued until the 1960s, when hunters in areas adjacent to the park pressured their elected officials to intervene. Fewer elk in Yellowstone, they knew, meant fewer elk migrating out of the park in winter, which in turn meant fewer hunting opportunities. The elk population was once again allowed to grow untrammeled.

The idea that wolves might be the solution to Yellowstone’s problems surfaced as early as 1940, though it wasn’t until the 1970s that the federal government began seriously considering reintroduction. Elected officials in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana (the states surrounding the park) were adamantly opposed to the idea, in deference to two constituencies that exercised an outsize influence on local politics: ranchers and hunters. Ranchers, whose own ancestors had helped rid the mountains of predators in the first place, feared they’d lose livestock once the reintroduced wolves began spreading beyond the park’s boundaries. Elk-hunters, meanwhile, knew the wolves would be subsisting on the same game they cherished—and they’d only just won the fight to keep rangers from reducing elk numbers. From the hunters’ perspective, every elk taken by a wolf was a lost opportunity, and wolves ate a lot of elk.

Hunting was big business in the Northern Rockies—not just for the professional hunting guides who relied on a steady stream of clients to earn a living, but also for the restaurants and motels that hosted the influx of out-of-town hunters who arrived every fall. As an endangered species, wolves would be protected even when they weren’t in Yellowstone, but in order to get the states on board, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had made a promise: as soon as the reintroduced wolf population was sufficiently numerous and stable, the wolf would be taken off the endangered species list, and the states could manage their individual populations however they wished. It was understood that this would eventually mean an annual hunting season for wolves. Still, opponents of reintroduction fought literally to the very last minute, delaying the opening of the wolves’ cages as a federal judge considered their final pleadings.

In the end, proponents of reintroduction won, and the wolves were released in the park with great fanfare. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Fish and Wildlife Service director Mollie Beattie personally helped carry the cages the final stretch through the deep January snow to the release point. The Yellowstone wolves were fitted with radio collars and initially set loose into three acclimation pens, each about an acre in size. Project leaders hoped the period of adjustment afforded by the pens would make it less likely that the wolves would take off for home once they were set free. The truth was, nobody really knew what would happen. No one had ever tried this before.

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Top reviews from the United States

Anthony Povilitis
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An excellent book that could help end trophy hunting of wolves near our national parks!
Reviewed in the United States on October 31, 2017
Nate Blakeslee’s book provides a penetrating view of wolves and people who love, hate, and manage them. It’s priority reading if you’re interested in wolves, particularly those of Yellowstone National Park. Insights into the amazing lives of wolves derive mainly... See more
Nate Blakeslee’s book provides a penetrating view of wolves and people who love, hate, and manage them. It’s priority reading if you’re interested in wolves, particularly those of Yellowstone National Park.

Insights into the amazing lives of wolves derive mainly from the copious notes of dedicated wolf watcher Laurie Lyman, and from observations by Rick McIntyre, a famed Yellowstone Park interpretive ranger. Featured is O-Six, the most famous Yellowstone wolf to date.

We learn of incredible challenges that O-Six and her Lamar family faced, from fending off grizzly bears near their den to dealing with the constant threat of territorial encroachment by neighboring wolf families. The book describes, for example, her riveting showdown with the bison-hunting Mollie’s pack, and her unbelievable cliff jump to save herself and her pups.

O-Six was beloved by wolf watchers for “her stunning blend of confidence and competence that inspired them, her indomitable will, her ability to bend a harsh landscape to her own ends, to do what needed to be done to provide for herself and her family every day, without fail.” By 2012 “she had become one of the sights to see if you went to Yellowstone, like Old Faithful or the Upper Falls.” Her family’s response at the moment of her tragic death that December was nothing less than surreal.

For some readers, the book may be overly empathetic towards wolf hunter Steven Turnbull (not his real name) who lives in western Wyoming near Yellowstone National Park. Steven and most people in his small Crandall Valley community had been personally affected by a sharp drop in elk abundance that coincided with wolf reintroduction in the 1990s, an event biologists attribute not only to wolves but also to drought and overhunting at the time (in general, elk harvests are now up in the Northern Rockies even with the presence of wolves).

Turnbull and other local hunters find themselves in what is to them an annoyingly changed world. On one hand, hunting elk near the park is not nearly as easy it once was, and that undercuts their way of life; on the other, Yellowstone Park is a rebalanced ecosystem with more willows, more beavers, fewer coyotes, more pronghorns, more rodents, more food for raptors, and an upsurge in wolf-based tourism. Hunting park wolves can’t bring back the super abundant elk, but it can provide those offended by the wolf’s return a sense of retribution.

The book’s most salient human, however, is not Turnbull but rather protagonist Rick McIntyre, interpretive ranger and “ambassador” to the wolf-watching public. To the dedicated wolf watcher, “Rick was a guru.” Some readers may feel that the book is overly devoted to his story but I found it to be a fascinating and essential part since a lot of what we learn about wolves was through his eyes.

The opinions of Rick and park wolf biologist Doug Smith count hugely among admiring wolf watchers, and increasingly with the general public. But “Rick’s employment with the Park Service made the politics of the situation delicate." He showed “studied neutrality when fielding questions from visitors about wolf hunting around the park.” Nevertheless, if prominent figures like Rick and Doug couldn’t renounce wolf hunting near the park, or don’t even mention it to park visitors, who would?

Rick explained to a friend of mine that there was a federal-state deal made when wolves were reintroduced in the 1990s – that the states would allow wolf hunting outside the park. Yet, no one predicted Yellowstone would become a “wolf-watching mecca” and that its wolves would cross the park boundary and be killed during hunting seasons.

American Wolf holds out the promise that Rick will, once retired and no longer as obsessed about seeing wolves everyday, become a Yellowstone wolf “emissary, just as Jane Goodall had done when she torn herself away from her beloved chimps to begin her own writing and speaking career, championing their cause everywhere she went.”

In one sense, the broad debate about wolves in the West, with its emphasis on livestock conflicts, gets too much coverage in the book. It tends to obscure the amazing story of park wolves, and their unique scientific, educational, aesthetic, spiritual, and economic value.

In that light, I found an unfortunate statement in the book that could wrongly damage the reputation of park wolves: “In fact, almost every year since reintroduction, he [Doug Smith] had reluctantly approved the shooting of a handful of Yellowstone wolves who had attacked livestock grazing near the park.” In fact, agency records show that from 2000-2015 only two park wolves were put down, and no livestock losses could be attributed to park wolves.

Thus, the motivation to hunt national park wolves has nothing to do with protecting livestock. Rather it stems from the desire to get a unique trophy, or take advantage of an opportunity to find a more vulnerable, less wary wolf, or from sheer hatred of wolves and contempt for people who cherish them. “Get a good look, they won’t be there much longer,” one man said to Laurie Lyman as he passed through the park.

As Blakeslee points out, “some Yellowstone wolves had become tolerant of humans, especially those who lived in the Lamar Valley, where wolf watching had become so popular, raising the question of whether it was ethical to shoot them when they left the park.” O-Six and her family up until 2012 had never been in the woods with hunters.

While the book details legal and political battles over removing wolves from the endangered species list, it gives short shrift to the important idea of creating a no hunting, no trapping safety zone for wolves near the park: “Wolf advocates had lobbied for a kind of buffer zone around the park in which hunting would never be allowed, but such efforts hadn’t gotten very far.” That’s it! As a result, readers didn’t learn what a U.S. congressman and others did to advance the idea, and about what could be done; for example, designing safety areas by using location data on wolves leaving the park. But the Park Service has not pursued this, and once refused a biologist’s request for data that would allow him to undertake the task.

In a strange twist, Blakeslee describes how, immediately after the shooting of O-Six, the park’s wolf office transferred precisely that kind of location data (wrongly identified as “public information”) to an avid wolf watcher. As a private citizen, he used it in a “guerilla campaign” against would-be park wolf hunters. His aim was to stop wolves from leaving the park by using noise emitters along their likely routes. And, he used signal jammers to foil the radio receivers of anyone who might be monitoring radio-collared wolves moving out of the park!

I was surprised that the book fails to mention Park Service attempts to get wolves to avoid people, by chasing or throwing objects at wolves, using non-lethal shotgun fired munitions, and other means. These practices typically involved wolves, including O-Six, that ignore people and do not flee from them. This is a complex matter that should be of considerable concern to wolf watchers and a public desperate to see and enjoy wolves in the park. Should emphasis be on wolf management or on people management, including rules that protect wolves that happen to cross the park boundary?

Neither does the book say much about how hunting impacts the natural integrity of wolf society, and that of Yellowstone Park itself. Cross-boundary “edge effects” should be a matter of importance to everyone concerned about the future of national parks and wildlife in an increasingly human-dominated world.

I noticed only one technical gaffe in the book: “Male wolves provided food and care for their offspring, so unusual in the animal world.” Most bird enthusiasts would be surprised!

In sum, American Wolf should help change outdated thinking about wolves. They are not mere widgets of wildlife management but rather highly sentient beings whose lives can be as intriguing and complex as our own. As the book demonstrates, compassion, love, joy, hatred, betrayal, cruelty, mercy, wisdom, culture, and other aspects of humanity appear evident in wolf society. Wildlife management has for too long dealt with wolves strictly at the population level, not taking into account the lives and value of individual animals
.
While not perfect, American Wolf is a fascinating and informative book. I hope you will read it and join the growing number of people demanding an end to trophy hunting and trapping of wolves near our national parks.

(Dr. Povilitis directs Campaign for Yellowstone’s Wolves. Visit us on Facebook!)
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Biblioholic Beth
5.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
"Enough is enough"
Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2017
I have been in awe of wolves for as long as I can remember. Their strength and beauty, their speed and endurance, and their family bonds that are like few other animals. For years, I have read about them, admired them, and have even had the privilege of seeing a few at Wolf... See more
I have been in awe of wolves for as long as I can remember. Their strength and beauty, their speed and endurance, and their family bonds that are like few other animals. For years, I have read about them, admired them, and have even had the privilege of seeing a few at Wolf Haven in Washington state. In fact, there is a cookbook that was published years ago that gets mentioned at some point in the book - I have that cookbook. I have carried that cookbook around through more military moves than I care to remember. I even looked up the very recipe I read about when I finished the book. So as I was saying, everything about wolves is incredible to me, not least of which is the story of their introduction to Yellowstone and the amazing recovery the park as a whole began to experience. So it was with some excitement - tinged with trepidation - that I picked up Nate Blakeslee''s book. For all of the science that wolves have in their corner, for all of the people they have pulling for them, there remain those who believe the wolf is a fur-covered plague - an animal who has no meaning for existence other than to be killed. And no true and honest book about wolves can avoid this painful fact - which means, at its core, heartbreak for the reader who is a wolf advocate.

The book covers the life - and yes, the death - of O-Six, a female wolf who led a very successful pack within the boundaries of Yellowstone. It covers the reintroduction of the wolves to the park, including much of the politics involved in that decision and in the years thereafter. Unusually, Blakeslee intersperses the fascinating details of the wolves with that of the hunter who killed O-Six. His real name is not given, and it is easy to understand why. There are alternating chapters throughout between what is happening with the wolves, and the thoughts and actions of the hunter. It makes for an unusually suspenseful account in a non-fiction book, but it works extremely well. Though I knew where the story was going - where it *must* be going - I still held my breath, and I''m not ashamed to admit that I cried. I cried for all of the people who had followed this amazing wolf for so long, I cried for her pack, and I cried for the lack of understanding that led to that point.

Before I get vilified for being a snowflake - let me be clear: I grew up in a hunting family. We lived for years on the deer and the elk that we brought in, as well as the food we grew in our garden. I have no problem with those who hunt for food. I''ve done it, and my family does it. However, the idea of taking a life simply for the kill is abhorrent to me - as it should be to everyone. Killing just for the sake of killing is wrong, and should be condemned as such.

The only downside to the arc that I got is that it had no pictures. I do hope that the finished version will have some, because I feel that it would be a tremendously impactful addition, for readers unfamiliar with the O-Six saga to be able to see and admire the pack(s). Otherwise - Blakeslee has done an incredible job showing wolves for the amazing creatures they are, making clear the politics that gets played with these creatures'' lives, and showcasing the amazing people who give their all for these animals every single day. It''s an amazing book, and one that I hope will open the eyes of more people to the enduring American spirit that is our American Wolf.
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N. Rogers
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
One of the Most Consequential Books I Have Read
Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2018
I cannot do justice to this book. It is without a doubt the most moving and valuable work I read in 2017, and I enjoyed many excellent books last year. American Wolf deals with the reintroduction of wolves into the northern Rockies, beginning with packs brought to... See more
I cannot do justice to this book. It is without a doubt the most moving and valuable work I read in 2017, and I enjoyed many excellent books last year. American Wolf deals with the reintroduction of wolves into the northern Rockies, beginning with packs brought to Yellowstone National Park. The author describes the sad history of wolves in America as European populations spread across the continent. Wolves were hunted, poisoned, trapped, and murdered as puppies in their dens until only a few remnants of the species were left in wilderness areas of northern Minnesota and Michigan. In the mid-1990s, efforts were made to return wolves to remote areas of the West, and the controversy over their fate began anew.

I am not objective. I admit that. I love wolves, and have loved them for as long as I can remember. I don’t think of them as “pets;” they are significantly different from dogs, although they are considered to be the same species by most biologists. Wolves are wild, and they should be left to live that life. Dogs are my companion animals; wolves are something else entirely.

Nate Blakeslee masterfully presents a balanced view of the various sides to the wolf issue, explaining how the presence of wolves impacts the lives of ranchers, hunters, outfitters, and others who recently find themselves sharing the land with these wild hunters. As apex predators, wolves compete with us for game and space. Elk hunters can no longer walk 50 feet from the road to shoot their trophies or provide themselves with “free” meat for much of the year. With the return of wolves to the landscape, elk numbers have returned to the balance which had existed for thousands of years before humans exterminated wolves from the ecosystem.

But with the return of wolves, that ecosystem has come back into a healthier equilibrium, one that benefits many other creatures, including the elk themselves. The book clearly details this process while personalizing the wolf itself through comprehensive descriptions of the lives of many individuals being studied by wildlife biologists and Yellowstone park rangers; the wolf packs are also watched and admired by thousands of park visitors who have the thrilling and inspiring opportunity to glimpse a wilderness mostly gone, and nearly lost forever.

The narrative centers around a special wolf, O-Six, and Rick McIntyre, the ranger who studies her and the other wolves of the park with obsessive dedication. The descriptions of wolves in this book are not sentimental or anthropomorphic; they originate from the field notes of Rick and others devoted to documenting the daily lives of these amazing creatures. Life for wolves can be brutal, and the author pulls no punches in relating the reality of hunts as well as the deadly inter-pack warfare .

This book is inspiring, yet also profoundly sad. But it educated me, and it deeply moved me. I listened to the audiobook, and when it finished, I immediately began to listen again…to all of it. (Something I don’t remember ever doing before.) And it was even more inspiring and more sad the second time.

I have not done justice to the book itself, to O-Six, or to Rick McIntyre in writing this review. I can only say that, for me, it was one of the most consequential books I have experienced. I believe that we need wildness, as we need air to breathe, food to eat, and water to drink. If we lose that in this great, vast land of ours, we lose a vital piece of our souls as well. I may never see a wolf in the wild, but knowing they are out there, roaming the mountains, gives me great hope and joy.
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Torrey Jaeckle
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent read, but make sure to pay careful attention
Reviewed in the United States on March 7, 2019
This was an excellent book, well written and researched. At times I found it hard to put down. To future readers I would suggest a few things. First off, pay close attention to the wolves'' numbers to avoid confusion. Most of the wolves in the book simply go by a number... See more
This was an excellent book, well written and researched. At times I found it hard to put down. To future readers I would suggest a few things. First off, pay close attention to the wolves'' numbers to avoid confusion. Most of the wolves in the book simply go by a number name (ie, 755, 754). I found that very confusing at times, as I had trouble remembering which wolf was which (was 755 the alpha-male or 754?). It would be much easier if the wolves had actual names, but it really wouldn''t make sense given in reality they do go by numbers in most cases. I''d suggest taking some notes on each wolf as you encounter them, so that you can refer back to them as needed. If you read the book over the course of a week this may not be an issue for you, but I only have time for limited reading each day and read the book over the course of several weeks, sometimes going several days without picking it up again. In many cases I would lose track of which wolf was which.

Second, I''d suggest familiarizing yourself with a detailed map of Yellowstone. Having been to Yellowstone a few years ago, I was familiar with a lot of the locations, but couldn''t always remember exactly where they were in the park. As I tried to picture the story in my mind, often I had to refer to a map of Yellowstone to figure out exactly where each event was taking place in the park.

I think the book did a good job of reporting on the political side of things in a fair and unbiased manner, which is nice to see. I consider myself pro-wolf, but wanted a fair representation of the real negative effects that wolf reintroduction has presented for those who share it''s territory. I feel I got that in this book.

The only advice I''d have for making this book better would be the inclusion of a map (or link to a map) of Yellowstone detailing the major locations that were frequently mentioned in the book, and possibly an appendix listing each individual wolf and a sentence or two describing who the wolf was (pack, partner, death date, etc.). A family tree of the major actors would also be interesting. It would also be helpful to have a timeline listing each major event discussed in the book. At times I found myself losing track of exactly where we were in the book time-wise, and would have to scroll back several pages to figure out what year/years the book was detailing at that point.

Overall excellent read, and highly recommend!
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Immer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Living By Voices We Shall Never Hear
Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2017
American Wolf Nate Blakeslee''s American Wolf: A true story of survival and obsession in the west, is a masterful look at wolves in general, and the life of the famous "06", her pack and their interactions with the neighboring packs of Yellowstone. The... See more
American Wolf

Nate Blakeslee''s American Wolf: A true story of survival and obsession in the west, is a masterful look at wolves in general, and the life of the famous "06", her pack and their interactions with the neighboring packs of Yellowstone. The book is woven around the notes of Rick McIntyre and Laurie Lyman as they documented the introduction of wolves, and and their lives in Yellowstone National Park. Blakeslee also does a nice job explaining the legal story of the listing and delisting of wolves, in particular in the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, without losing the momentum of the books focus, the wolves of Yellowstone.

American Wolf is really the first book of this type that actually unfolds sympathetically toward the locals in areas that have been affected by wolves. Blakeslee uses seamless transition between the story of the wolves, the locals, legal proceedings, and the individual who eventually shoots 06. The book is an easy read, spare in metaphor and easily digestible for the reader.

The concerns I had with Blakeslee''s narrative include: his summation of wolf affect on coyotes as he wrote that wolves drove down the Yellowstone coyote population. Initially, this was true, but the coyote population has since risen, and fluctuates periodically with the number of wolves; he teeters on the tight rope of Trophic Cascade. The verdict is still out on the genuine affect wolves have on the "recovery" of Yellowstone in regard with the particulars of "cause or correlation"; a more inclusive map would have been helpful; pictures are worth a thousand words, and a few pictures of the storied wolves would have fleshed out his work, and given the reader a visual hook on the individual wolves that were featured in American Wolf.

American Wolf reads like a documentary with a human side, and without being anthropomorphic, gives insight into the minds of the wolves observed. In this reader''s opinion, the two pages 230-231, recounting the death of 06 and the reaction of her mate and pack through the eyes of the hunter as portrayed by Blakeslee are reason enough to purchase and read the book. These two pages capture poignantly the words of Henry Beston, "We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals."

In conclusion, Nick Blakeslee''s American Wolf is a welcome addition to the volumes of literature about wolves since their resurgence in the lower 48. Borrowing a phrase from Carter Niemeyer''s Wolfer, "In the end, people will determine which animals are allowed to persist. All we need are people who are brave enough to think for themselves and cherish those things that are still truly wild." Nate Blakeslee expertly crafts a story about wolves, and their importance in the lives of all players, where wolves roam, in an eminently readable book.
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M---70
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
American Wolf: An American Legend and legacy that continues to impact the world.
Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2017
Once in awhile, we witness perfection in motion and that was what 06F personified. One cold winter''s day in 2011, I was fortunate to catch a fleeting glimpse of 06 running through the trees in Yellowstone. I saw her Lamar pack running along side. I heard their haunting... See more
Once in awhile, we witness perfection in motion and that was what 06F personified. One cold winter''s day in 2011, I was fortunate to catch a fleeting glimpse of 06 running through the trees in Yellowstone. I saw her Lamar pack running along side. I heard their haunting howls. Now, I wish I could have lingered longer and she had come just a little closer, for I now know after reading American Wolf how blessed I was to have been in her company for even a few fleeting moments. I agree, this is the best non fiction book of 2017. Not only for how brilliantly Nate Blakeslee has captured the majesty and mastery of the Yellowstone wolves, but because one cannot read this book and not then question what role we all have in protecting and conserving our nation''s wildlife. We must always be questioning how we can do better, how we can achieve a balance in our environments so that all creatures, great and small, may live in proximity and harmony. If you read American Wolf, you will be inspired, you will cry, you will laugh, you will be so very angry, you will have a new sense of indebtedness for those who are out in the field and in the courts working to protect these animals. AND you will never ever look at your dog the same way. 06''s legacy is to teach us what Henry Beston said so beautifully. For the wolves, "are not brethren, they are not underlings. They are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time." Honor 06 and her legacy, read this book!
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The best Yellowstone wolf book to date
Reviewed in the United States on October 31, 2017
I''ve worked for 3 decades in wolf conservation in the USA northern Rockies and this is the first book to truly capture the story of the Yellowstone wolf issue. It''s engaging, mostly accurate, and the author captures both human and wolf characters in realistic dimensions of... See more
I''ve worked for 3 decades in wolf conservation in the USA northern Rockies and this is the first book to truly capture the story of the Yellowstone wolf issue. It''s engaging, mostly accurate, and the author captures both human and wolf characters in realistic dimensions of their lives. There is far more to this story but the author hits the highlights in a way that helps the reader gain meaningful insight to the real events that shaped wolf conservation in the Yellowstone region.
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tpflyers
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating and fairly balanced book about wolves and human behavior
Reviewed in the United States on August 9, 2019
Fascinating, easy to read book which was hard to put down. As a longtime western hunter who still appreciates predators I enjoyed the story of the reintroduction of the wolf into Yellowstone, the captivating look at wolf behavior, and the environmental effects of the... See more
Fascinating, easy to read book which was hard to put down. As a longtime western hunter who still appreciates predators I enjoyed the story of the reintroduction of the wolf into Yellowstone, the captivating look at wolf behavior, and the environmental effects of the reintroduction. Almost equally compelling is the look at human behavior. Some of the story is seen through the eyes of biologists, hunters, wolf experts/observers, and wolf groupies. I give Mr. Blakeslee a lot of credit for trying to present a balanced view of the human dynamics without villainizing anyone (other than a few politicians, but, heck, they''re fair game). It was a difficult task and for the most part he succeeded, although, for my taste, too much space was given to some of the wolf groupies who have overly anthropomorphized wolves. You get the feeling some of these folks would cry more over a dead wolf than their own dead child.
Because the book follows the development and demise of dens and because wolves are referred to by number (which were assigned by the biologists) it can be a bit confusing remembering who is who. I ended up writing a brief description, org chart, and wolf members by den on an index card to keep it all straight and quick.
The book could have used photos. The book felt a bit bare without them.
Because I was reading the Kindle version (which can make going back and forth a bit of a hassle), the book would have also benefited by better or more maps.
I would have rated the book 4.5 but Amazon doesn''t give that choice.
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Top reviews from other countries

george.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Heart breaking
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2018
It took me a long time to read your book, I had to take a break often, to recover from the emotional hammering it gave me. I know the pain of losing the pets I have lost but, how the hell could you survive the loss of so many of your wolves. To say well done ain''t enough,...See more
It took me a long time to read your book, I had to take a break often, to recover from the emotional hammering it gave me. I know the pain of losing the pets I have lost but, how the hell could you survive the loss of so many of your wolves. To say well done ain''t enough, but its all I got.
4 people found this helpful
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Thunder Road
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent book but.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 4, 2019
this is a fantastic book, but does require a fair bit of attention as there are a lot of details and different people and wolves mentioned throughout. hard to keep up sometimes!
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Faisatik
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Amazing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 21, 2018
An amazing book. So emotional at some parts but a great book about the struggles the west is facing. The best book about what the west faces and it is not one sided at any point whatsoever
3 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good book. Worth reading.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 1, 2021
Very good book and well written. Definitely worth reading, especially if you don’t know much about the impact of apex predators on ecosystems, and trundle along thinking humans can take liberties with nature without impact.
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sammer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great read :)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 28, 2019
Very compelling - intriguing, descriptive and heartfelt. I learned a lot about wolves from this book, and about American attitudes to them too. Nothing more could be asked!
2 people found this helpful
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