Reviews for American wolf : a true story of survival and obsession in the West

Publishers Weekly
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Blakeslee (Tulia), a writer at large for Texas Monthly, brings the feeling of a celebrity biography to the story of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park and its aftermath. He 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. Blakeslee derives his beautiful, detailed descriptions of the interactions between wolves from a massive amount of observational material meticulously collected over years by wolf watcher Laurie Lyman and park wildlife expert Rick McIntyre. The latter receives a complementary profile here that almost works as a secondary biography in its own right. Blakeslee escorts readers up close to interpack conflict as well as human enemies of wolf preservation. He details legislative moves, which vary from state to state and are based in ranching politics more than science, that seek to remove wolves from the endangered list prematurely and establish hunting zones just outside of park limits-and within the ranges of the Yellowstone packs. Most extraordinarily, Blakeslee interviews the hunter who legally shot O-Six in 2012 ("She didn't tell me she was famous before I shot her"), offering a close and unsympathetic view of the other side. Agent: David R. Patterson, Stuart Krichevsky Literary. (Oct.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
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Reintroduced to the Yellowstone ecosystem in 1995, wolves continue to be controversial and the subject of debate, especially by locals living in the three states-Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho-that surround the park. But for countless thousands of park visitors, the opportunity to see a wolf in its natural environment is priceless. Yellowstone's Lamar Valley is the epicenter for wolf watching, and National Park Service ranger Rick McIntyre has chronicled years of wolf observations that aid the park's wolf research team. Blakeslee recounts the history of wolves in the region as well as the political maelstrom that surrounds them. However, at the center of this story is a charismatic female wolf known as O-Six. Detailing her lineage and her years as alpha female of her pack, Blakeslee's words flow from the pages and form a breathless narrative. Mark Bramhall's narration is exquisite. -VERDICT From the first sounds of wolves howling to the epilog read by the author, this is a stupendous production. Anyone who loves national parks and animals will want to listen to this book-like O-Six, it is a standout. ["From its powerful cover art to its sad epilog, this book is utterly compelling": LJ 8/17 starred review of the Crown hc.]-Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community Colls., Mt. Carmel Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Blakeslee, writer at large for Texas Monthly and author of the award-winning Tulia, tells the story of the rise and fall of O-Six, the "world's most famous wolf." O-Six had star appeal, with her large size and attractive markings, her hunting prowess, and her moxie; she was one of the most visible wolves in Yellowstone when wolf-watching was drawing people in and social media was new. Readers will learn much about lupines: their pack behavior, penchant for play, hunting strategy, etc. But there's also a strong human angle-the wolves are seen mostly through the eyes of park ranger Rick McIntyre, who put together an obsessive run of consecutive wolf-watching days and compiled thousands of pages of notes in the process (another watcher, Laurie Lyman, also figures). Then there's the villain of the piece: "Steven Turnbull" (a pseudonym), who lurks about the periphery of the tale. VERDICT From its powerful cover art to its sad epilog, this book is utterly compelling. Blakeslee's masterly use of fiction writing techniques to ratchet up the tension will hook a wide swath of readers. Leonardo DiCaprio's film company has picked up the movie rights, promising that O-Six's celebrity will grow even more. [See Prepub Alert, 4/10/17.]-Robert Eagan, Windsor P.L., Ont. Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* This story of the most famous wolf in the world is beautifully told by Blakeslee (Tulia, 2005), a writer for Texas Monthly. The 1995 return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park was a celebrated event, not only for the wildlife-loving tourists who were thrilled by the sighting of a wolf but also to wildlife biologists, who had a unique opportunity to study the wolves as they interacted with each other and with their prey. Blakeslee follows the story of female wolf O-Six, named for her birth year. A great-granddaughter of one of the famed pairs from Yellowstone's original releases, she was a favorite with wolf watchers and biologists alike. Her life embodied all that it means to be a wolf in Yellowstone: jockeying for space in an ecosystem where all territory is claimed, finding a mate and establishing a pack, ranging in and out of the park's boundaries, and coming up against the consequences of the politics of wolf reintroduction. The fight between federal and state control of 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.--Bent, Nancy Copyright 2017 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
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Bramhall gives an excellent reading of this fascinating look at the lives and deaths of the pack of wolves at Yellowstone National park, specifically the wolf known as O-Six. Blakeslee's book begins with a prologue set in 2012, as a hunter prepares to shoot O-Six. Bramhall eloquently brings to life the moments prior to the hunter taking the shot that ended the wolf's life. Bramhall's calm, relaxed delivery recounts the rest of the story, not just of the life of remarkable O-Six, who was a fierce hunter, protective parent, and dynamic leader, but also the history and controversies surrounding the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone. It is a story as informative as it is emotionally moving, and Bramhall presents it with a skillful, even-handed delivery. Blakeslee reads the book's epilogue that recounts his disturbing but intriguing meeting with the unrepentant hunter who shot O-Six. A Crown hardcover. (Oct.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

On-the-ground reporting on the fate of Canis lupus as a creature once nearly extirpated struggles to regain a home in the Rockies.Think life is tough for American humans? Try living as a wolf, even with the putative protection of the federal government in Yellowstone National Park. As Thomas McNamee reported 20 years ago in The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone, reintroduction was a venture as much political as ecological. Now comes Texas Monthly writer Blakeslee (Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town, 2005) to chronicle just how true that observation remains. The author serves up two protagonists: a renegade biologist named Rick McIntyre who, more than any living individual, was instrumental in returning the wolf to its former home and keeping it safe there, and a wolf named O-Six, an alpha female who was a star in the social media world thanks to some canny promotion by reintroduction activists. As Blakeslee tracks O-Six's movements through the Lamar Valley of Wyoming and surrounding areas, he examines the lives of other wolves in and around the park, some in her pack, others in competing wolf clans. O-Six's travels led to tragedy, as he writes; he interviews the hunter who killed her, who proudly tells him, "I'm against wolvesI want to make sure that's clear." It is. Blakeslee takes pains to try to understand the views of hunters and ranchers while making sure that it's similarly clear that the wolves merit a place in the sun. Along the way, he examines the long and ongoing back and forth of listing and delisting the wolf on the federal list of protected species, the wolf being, to many in the western states affected, a sort of federal agent and therefore automatically suspect. In the main, Blakeslee's well-rendered story will be familiar to anyone who has followed the Yellowstone wolves, but those who have not will find this a solid overview of recent eventsevenhanded but clearly and rightly on the side of the wolves. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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