The best books that paint a multi-dimensional portrait of the wolf

Jim and Jamie Dutcher Author Of The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack
By Jim and Jamie Dutcher

The Books I Picked & Why

Of Wolves and Men

By Barry Lopez

Book cover of Of Wolves and Men

Why this book?

Anyone familiar with the work of Barry Lopez would likely agree his elegant and insightful prose is reason enough to warrant a recommendation. But this book also takes the reader on a journey of unexpected breadth and depth through the world of wolves and their relationship with humanity. He illuminates the wolf from scientific, indigenous, historical, and modern-day perspectives. Don’t miss the brief and touching dedication that offers a glimpse into Barry’s love and respect for animals.


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Never Cry Wolf

By Farley Mowat

Book cover of Never Cry Wolf

Why this book?

Never Cry Wolf is a quick read, peppered with dry wit and an entertaining, self-deprecating point of view. In describing his own experience, Farley Mowat demonstrates how humans tend to misjudge wolves based on deeply ingrained myths and misinformation. As the story unfolds, he systematically chips away at those myths. His observations of wolf behavior were not unlike ours, and his descriptions of the way in which wolves test prey while hunting were particularly informative. We can relate very well to the dramatically different outlook that evolves after spending a significant amount of time observing and getting to know specific wolves.


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Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

By William Stolzenburg

Book cover of Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

Why this book?

We still have much to learn about the complex interconnectedness of ecosystems. However, it has become abundantly clear that the absence of apex predators has far-reaching consequences. William Stolzenburg has pulled together a compelling set of examples of vanishing predators and the problems that arise in their absence. In contrast, and of particular interest to us, is the role that reintroduced wolves have played in revitalizing Yellowstone National Park. There is a cautionary tale here that extends far beyond wolves, because the fate of many is inextricably bound with the fate of a few if we are to sustain biodiversity.    


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Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

By Carl Safina

Book cover of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

Why this book?

In the prologue, Carl Safina notes that “Science usually steers firmly from the questions about the inner lives of animals.” His book does not. Each animal portrayed in Beyond Words is unapologetically considered a “who” instead of an “it.” We are filmmakers, not scientists, and as we came to know a pack of wolves as individuals, that granted us a freedom to explore questions that science hadn’t asked. Consequently, reading the amazing and often heart-rending stories about wolves, elephants, orcas, and other animals in this touching book resonated with us deeply.  


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Decade of the Wolf

By Douglas W. Smith, Gary Ferguson

Book cover of Decade of the Wolf

Why this book?

Reflecting on the first decade with wolves back in Yellowstone National Park, this book highlights milestones in the reintroduction effort, takes you out in the field with a wildlife biologist, and shares compelling stories of individual Yellowstone wolves and their packs. With more than 25 years spent overseeing wolves and elk in the park, Doug Smith is a unique authority on wolves and wolf behavior. Around the time our wolf project was coming to an end in the mid-’90s, those first wolves were released into central Idaho and Yellowstone. When we read this book some ten years later, we heard the echoes of our own experience in the behavior and characteristics of the wolves in Yellowstone.


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