Most helpful critical review
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A review for those interested in wolves.
on 8 March 2012
I have given the product two stars mostly because most amazon 1 star reviews come across as bitter or totally inappropriate "arrived late" etc. Two out of ten would ,perhaps, be more accurate.
I see that those who have given this book less than stellar reviews have had lots of "unhelpful" clicks and some follow up in the comments. This review is for people thinking of buying the book not for those who have read it. I am also going to offer some recommendations for other books.I no longer own this book.
I have had a lifelong interest in the natural world and northern predators in particular. I am especially keen on wolves. The book was bought for me as it seemed to be a neat blending of my two loves of phiolosophy and nature.
I didn't finsh the book I think I got half way through. I put it down at the point where he decided to go vegetarian for moral reasons which is fair enough, I remember that he wrote about the animals having no choice in their role. He then elected (obviously unilaterally) to feed his wolf a vegetarian diet. The book went down at that point.
The author clearly harbours a deep dislike for humans his self hatred is as profound as his ignorance of ecology and zoology. The book comes across as a series of increasingly thin rationalisations for the choices he has made for himself and his pet. I believe it is illegal to own a wolf except under very special circumstances, this has been addressed in other reviews but the author makes it clear that he owned a 100% wolf at the beginning of the book. That he then makes endless moralistic arguments highlights his amazing inconsistency and the hypocrisy of his arguments. His rugby and beer machismo is also deeply unattractive.
I did think at points that I was looking into the mind of one of those people who tells you their dog is fine while is growls and snaps at your wife and kids. His thinking is much in line with the poor chap in Werner Hertzog's "Grizzly Man".
You won't learn much about philosophy and you certainly won't learn much about wolves.
Anyhow Barry Lopez's fine work "of wolves and Men" is a far more satisfy and frankly less emotional work which actually deals with western man's paradoxical,uncomfortable relationship with wolves and wildness. You could also go with Rolf Petersen's "Wolves of Isle Royale" as a look at wild wolf populations.
However the book I would most strongly recommend is "the Wolf" by David Mech almost certainly the world's foremost expert on the wolf. David Mech had a pet wolf "lightning" for many years he however highlights that the animal was unhappy and unfulfilled with the life he could offer it (in sharp contrast to Rowlands) and said "it is very,very wrong to keep a wolf as a pet". I will leave with a quote from the work. "and lastly to lightning-if it is permissable to address a wolf in print- the only thing I can say is, "I'm sorry"."