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Company of Wolves


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About the Author

Peter Steinhart is a naturalist and a writer. For 12 years he was an editor and columnist at Audubon, and his work has appeared in Harper's, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, and Sierra. He has twice been a finalist for a National Magazine Award, and his essays have been widely anthologized. He has published four books, among them The Company of Wolves and Undressed Art: Why We Draw. He lives and draws in Palo Alto, California.


People either hate wolves or love them. To many, wolves have come to represent the last remnants of wildness; to others, wolves are a metaphor for the deeper aspects of the human animal. This is not a treatise on wolf biology but an examination of the relationship between humans and wolves in the wolves' last refuges in the Arctic and in places where the two species live together again as wolves move into new areas, either through their own natural movements or through attempts at reintroduction. Steinhart, the author of several books (e.g., Tracks in the Sky, Random, 1991) and many popular articles on the environment, 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. Highly recommended for general collections.-Bruce Neville, Univ. of Texas Lib., El Paso

The most prevalent views of wolves are as a powerful symbol of wilderness and as a menace to game populations. Steinhart (Two Eagles‘Dos Aguilas) explores the tangled relationships between wolf and human, fact and feeling, mythology and biology. Serious study of wolf predation began about 50 years ago, but it was Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf (1963) that redefined the animal in the public mind. Steinhart talked to ranchers, hunters, trappers, biologists, wildlife managers and people who keep wolves and wolf dogs. He leads us through the debates about reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone Park to serve as natural predators and looks at the North Carolina project where red wolves have been reintroduced. He discusses predation, wolf control in Alaska and hybridization. We learn that there is a DNA test to distinguish definitively between wolves and coyotes, but none for wolves and dogs. One of the fascinating things about wolves and humans is the similarity between their societies. Steinhart makes an eloquent case for preserving wolves, who are intelligent creatures. This belongs on the shelf next to Barry Lopez's Of Wolves and Men. (May)

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