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5.0 out of 5 stars "Recognizing and embracing the darkness that accompanies light is at the heart of understanding the wild" - Askins, 12 April 2009
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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SHADOW MOUNTAIN is more than the memoir of Renee Askins' mission to return wolves to Yellowstone; it is a memoir which encompasses how she developed a love of nature and the wild; of how wilderness is different to the wild; of how man's relationship to animals has changed over time and continues to change; and how the wild is important to each and every one of us; and of course, the story of a wolf named Natasha, and the legacy that she would have.
As Aksins recounts her struggle to reintroduce the wolf to America's first national park, she explores how the natural world has touched upon her life. Her prose is truly beautiful - at times reading more like poetry than prose. And she touches upon many interesting ideas. At the beginning of the book, she states that she believes that place has an important role in making us who we are:-
"I feel with certainty that everything follows from place, that place makes us who we are, that landscape carves out a certain character and community, and that ultimately the places in which we choose to live govern the unfolding of our lives."
She also believes that it is through our experiences and interactions with animals as children that teach us a sense of "otherness", a "context beyond one's self".

Reading through Askins' memoir, I was struck how the wild and human life are inextricably linked. As she progressed with her mission she was to encounter hate-mail and death threats from poeple opposed to wolves being reintroduced to Yellowstone. Discussing their reactions to her mission, she ponders on what was behind such anger and hate from these people. Why is it that people often fear and despise the wolf? What makes some want to extinguish the wild beauty of it by hunting it down, rippong its body apart and then display as some kind of trophy? Is it merely because the wolf is a predator, a threat? Or is it because, looking into its eyes, we recognise some part of ourselves staring back? This idea of light against dark, the shadow side of humans, the shadow side of nature, is also at the heart of this book.
I loved this book. As a lover of nature - of the light and the dark there - I appreciated the intelligent and graceful way that Askins saw the wolves. I, along with her, think they are beautiful animals that deserve the right to be. And I would recommend this book wholeheartedly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars lovely, 5 Jun 2014
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If you want a lovely story (factual) give this a go, it will keep you riveted page by page, it did me...thanks you for your story..
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