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Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  302 ratings  ·  50 reviews
After forming an intense bond with Natasha, a wolf cub she raised as part of her undergraduate research, Renée Askins was inspired to found the Wolf Fund. As head of this grassroots organization, she made it her goal to restore wolves to Yellowstone National Park, where they had been eradicated by man over seventy years before. Here, Askins recounts her courageous fifteen- ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 6th 2004 by Anchor (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,216)
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Beckie Elgin
Apr 20, 2012 Beckie Elgin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in wolves
Recommended to Beckie by: Daughter, Hannah Hartsell
This is a wonderful book on many levels. Askins details both her personal life and the long, drawn out efforts made by her and many others to return wolves to Yellowstone. Readers get tins of inside information, and learn of the hardships of this battle. And we learn about one woman's dedication to returning a wild place to its original, diverse form by bringing back the wolf.
Although I enjoyed this memoir, there were moments when the author's perspective on wildness and our hand in it became to much. Although I fundamentally agree with her perspective I felt there were moments when she pushed too hard instead of letting her story tell itself. But still an interesting perspective on a key player in getting wolves back in Yellowstone.
Dec 11, 2009 epg rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009, adults
The story of how wolves were successfully reintroduced into the Yellowstone ecosystem, told from the writer’s personal perspective - a key player herself. It’s not a detailed account, step-by-step of exactly what happened, but rather, I suppose, a telling of what was important about it all for her. Though we learn a lot about her personal commitment and concrete involvement, these aspects are almost less significant than her motivation - her relationship with ‘the wild’ with a spotlight on her o ...more
Jill Shultz
A lyrical story that gave me a lot of insight into the battle to restore wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Askins is my kind of crazy. She's an inspiring environmentalist, one of the people who was integral to bringing wolves back to Yellowstone National Park.

The author said this book is about "keeping a promise, living a passion, loving an animal, never turning back, not giving up hope... living in the hell between the hopes"... it's all that. Her writing is visceral and unapologetic. Too of
Manda Lea
Askins does a really good job telling the political and environmental story of the reintroduction of the wolves to Yellowstone National Park. The personal aspects of the book regarding her involvement are, at times, overly descriptive to the point of annoyance. The book has been likened to Tempest Williams' Refuge, which I don't think is a positive nod for the book. The nature writing is good and if you like dogs this book should hold your attention because Askins LOVES to talk about her dogs an ...more
As this was my "waiting" book, it took a long time to finish. (Having said that, Askins' descriptive writing and poetic viewpoint made it difficult to leave in the car!)

Now that I'm finished, I can say it's most definitely worth the read; I appreciated Askins' colorful storytelling ability, making me feel I was really observing the majesty and beauty she shared.

Great for wolf lovers, people who marvel at how Nature is so competent and efficient but dismay of the job we humans are doing in "manag
In short: I LOVED this book. Ms Askins presents a style of writing that I have never experienced before... And I have no idea what to call it. She writes beautifully, is all I can say. I would highly recommend this memoir to anyone who enjoys a great story. Five stars, and not just because I'm a wolf lover. I am lucky enough to own this gem of a book... Needless to say, I will be keeping it forever.
An amazing memoir - poetical, lyrical, incisive, and wise. Askins, who established The Wolf Fund with the goal of bringing wolves back to Yellowstone, beautifully intertwines her own story with that of the wolves and their return. This is the best book I have read so far this year, and it is already in the hands of one of my coworkers at the bookstore, an animal lover who is reading it avidly!
I gave 2 stars for the amazing imagery, 1 star for wolves, 1 star for an amazing insight into the processes necessary to take an idea for change and implement it. There were a few places the book rubbed me a bit wrong, but all in all I HIGHLY recommend this book regardless of what your views of the reintroduction of wolves to yellowstone is.
What a GREAT book about finding yourself/losing yourself though the things you love most.
Emily Kimball
This is an important book because it heals. I’m forever thankful to Renée Askins for her wisdom:

"We also need to listen -- listen to the stories, come to understand the rhythm and reason of these lives we think of as antithetical to our own. We might find we are an awful lot alike. We need to come to understand that their arguments and their fears, and be able to articulate these fears and threats as well as or better than our own. Help them hear their own voices. It is a very powerful thing for
I'm fascinated by the controversial reintroduction of wolves at Yellowstone National Park and had to read this book as soon as I saw it. (And what better place to read it than here in Montana?) Renee Askins' struggle against cattle ranchers, hunters, and the law was interesting, and I respect her for all of the sacrifices and hard work she put in to achieving the seemingly impossible, but at the same time, I sort of wish I could read the same book written by someone less involved in the campaign ...more
This was a great memoir and telling of the struggle of Renee Askins dedication to seeing that wolves are reintroduced to Yellowstone. Renee provides insightful view into the difficult decisions faced by this grand experiment, the costs, the struggles, the heartache, the unrelenting effort of the people fighting for what is right and ethical (Doug Smith, Mollie Beattie, Mardy Murie, and many many more).Thank you Thank you Thank you for this amazing gift of wolves in Yellowstone.
An exquisitely written triptych - part personal memoir, part plea for conservation, and part examination of the oldest, darkest places of the psyche. Through admirable perseverance, a cascade of serendipitous windfalls, and the ability to communicate straight to the heart, Renee Askins successfully spearheaded the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. It seems almost unfair that she should accomplish all of this, as well as being a talented writer who can reach into the past a ...more
Taylor S.
By far, one of the best books I have ever read. Askins descriptions of the Western landscape evoked memories of places I've visited and love. Her philosophizing on human connection with wild carries throughout the book and should be read by all Americans! It will teach a greater appreciation for the few remaining wild open spaces we have, the national park system and the animals we share this earth with. She does an excellent job of discussing both sides of the issue of wolf reintroduction to Ye ...more
I just love this book. Not only was it informative about the wolf project in Yellowstone, it was also lyrical. Renee Askins is a writer that just pulls the reader into the story of her life, her relationships with wolves and dogs, friends that she has made along the way.

It started out with a story of her first wolf study and where she bonded with a wolf pup. Askins end up taking the reader through a poetical journey, often filled with despair but with hope; fights against laws and regulations;
Interesting for all the stuff about wolves and their reintroduction to Yellowstone. But it's pretty heavy on the sentimental spirituality and totally touchy-feely.
This book started off really slow, but then started picking up, and it turned out to be a pretty good book!!!!! I thought I wasn't going to like it, but I ended up liking it alot. i really like the small stories within it, and it was sad at points, but it helped me realize the emotion she put into her job. I thank Renee's patience and strong-will, and thank her fo rbringing wolves back to yellowstone, she also helped me realize how hard it is to be a conservationist, and help a population of a c ...more
Sally Atwell Williams
I have always loved wolves, and actually did hear them in Yellowstone National Park, near the Lamar Valley. Renee Askins recounts her experiences of her work with wolves at Wolf Park, to her work in helping to getting wolves reintroduced into Yellowstone. Through it all, she not only tells the history of the loss of wolves in the West, to her own feelings and emotions of her own life and losses. It is a beautiful, at times very sad, account of her personal time throughout fifteen to twenty years ...more
Found this gem by has begun well, with a poem! and each chpter is prefaced with some fabulous poem or fragment. Well written and moving. There were times when the place moved her story along, and her love of poetry is deftly woven into the narrative. Asks the tough questions, like how can we co-exist with animals when we hold the power of life and death over them, and when we compete with them for the planet's resources. When do we realize that their fate is inextricably bound ...more
Review to follow shortly.
I really enjoyed this book, though I'm not a big fan of the canine family. Askins writes well and covered a wide range of animal issues as she pursued her passion of getting wolves reintroduced into Yellowstone. She asked some good questions about the ethics of radio tracking and the degree to which people could take away an animal's freedom in order to "help" it. What seemed so contradictory to the rest of the book was her purchase of a couple designer dogs--never quite understood why.
A great counterpoint to several men's narratives with big animals int he wild (Chris McCandless, Timothy Treadwell). I think this book could have used a good editor (lots and lots of "and" conjunctions which were really just repeating the same feeling or phrase), the font is too small to comfortably read, and some chapters of shear detail of Askins' life outside of her wolf advocacy seemed superfluous, but overall, loved Askins' story, her voice, her passion for things wild AND human.
As an undergrad the author worked with captive-bred wolves and had an intense emotional experience with one wolf in particular. She makes a promise to that wolf (and herself), goes on to form the non-profit organization Wolf Fund, and plays a key role in bringing wild wolves back to Yellowstone National Park. This book is as much a story about the reintroduction of wolves to the West as it is Askins' life. Recommended for those interested in this sort of environmental work.
Rebecca Cripe
Feb 07, 2008 Rebecca Cripe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: to don't know
Recommended to Rebecca by: no just looked good
I learned that there is always going to be two sides to something, a good and a bad. I love the environment and I'm on the band wagon to help improve it and this book offered some insight into how helping restore something like helping a species come off the endangered list can be a great thing but with consequence.

This book was also just a great read about someone who made a promise and let nothing stop her till the promise was fulfilled.
AdultNonFiction Teton County Library
Teton County Library call #: 639.97 ASKINS
Renee Askins is a local author from the Jackson Hole area. She and her husband, musician Tom Rush, lived in the shadow of Shadow Mountain. This book chronicles Renee's attempts to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone, as well as her relationship to wolves and dogs. (Suzy)

This book would be a great gift for anyone interested in local wildlife, especially wolves.
What a great book. Askins is such a passionate scientist! It was amazing to read about all of her adventures while reaching the goal of reintroducing wolves back to Yellowstone. The only complaints I have are that I felt like her poetic writing was at times mawkish. I also felt like the story was more of a juxtaposition of essays rather than a cohesive book. I still loved it though!
After reading about Karsten Heuer's personal quests for wildlife conservation in "Walking the Big Wild" and "Being Caribou" I wanted more on the subject. This book was disappointing since it was more about the political struggle and less about the animals themselves. It has its place, but I was expecting something else.
This book was actually very inspirational to me. I absolutely loved it. The only thing I didn't like was that the author got very mystical at times. It was an interesting view point of the wolf reintroduction program in Yellowstone. It was very simply written but it was very eloquent.
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RENÉE ASKINS founded the Wolf Fund in 1986 for the sole purpose of reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park.

She has been profiled in Time, Harper’s Bazaar, Audubon, the New York Times, People, and Parade and her writing has been featured in Harper's Magazine and in the anthology Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals. She has traveled and lectured extensively on the topic o
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