American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Blake Blakeslee
In 1995 wolves were brought down from Canada and reintroduced into Yellowstone. This is a story of a fitful re-enchanting of managed American wilderness through the presence of wolves. Biologists and naturalists observe wolves and care for them as if they are alien royalty. Ranchers despise them as terrorists and thieves. Hunters and guides hate them as mortal rivals for the same big game.
Blakeslee quotes Barry Lopez, who wrote: “The wolf is an animal capable of killing a man, an animal of legendary endurance and spirit, an animal that embodies marvelous integration with its environment. This is exactly what the frustrated modern hunter would like: the noble qualities imagined; a sense of fitting into the world. The hunter wants to be the wolf.” p. 105
Blakeslee writes that “when the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock there were perhaps as many as two million wolves on the continent.” Then, along with the settling of the nation, came the extermination of the wolf.
Rick McIntyre, a hero of this book, along with the named and adored wolves themselves, advocated for wolves to be brought back to America. Drawing on the original American environmentalist–Thoreau–McIntyre wrote that a wilderness landscape was incomplete without the wolf: “The only way we can experience ‘an entire heaven and an entire earth’ is to bring the wolf back.”
This is a loving tale of wolves, carefully observed, and of their tragic collisions with human society, and the passions and fears thereof.