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American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West
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American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  9,885 ratings  ·  1,488 reviews
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The enthralling story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her.

Before humans ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)
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Nancy Mills I found "The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival" by John Vaillant to be very revealing, although chilling. Set in Siberia. A tiger takes re…moreI found "The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival" by John Vaillant to be very revealing, although chilling. Set in Siberia. A tiger takes revenge. True story.(less)
Ginni The book actually documents the lives of the Yellowstone wolves, those who came to know and love them, and the political conflicts surrounding the rei…moreThe book actually documents the lives of the Yellowstone wolves, those who came to know and love them, and the political conflicts surrounding the reintroduction and protection of these wolves. The terms "alpha" and "beta" are used to describe some of the main wolves, but the focus is more on following the lives of a particular wolf pack. It's a fascinating book.(less)

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Will Byrnes
There was a time when millions of us roamed the continent. We fed when there was need. We played in forests and open places. Our kind lived well, from the warm woodlands of the south to the frosty forests of the north and in the gentler landscapes between. We raised our pups in cozy dens, and raised our voices at night to call out to others. Sometimes, we joined our brothers and sisters in joyous chorus for no reason at all. We lived in a world with many others, hunters, prey, and creatures who ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it

this is my nonfiction book for the month, chosen because i like wolves, but sean of the house LOVES wolves, and i was going to give this to him when i finished, but i'm afraid it would break his sensitive irish heart.

according to this book, wolves have a life expectancy of about five years in the wild, and this book chronicles several generations of wolves living in yellowstone, so you do the math there.

this book was pulled together from the well-detailed accounts of the wolf-watchers in yellow
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
3.5 stars
I've always been a wolf fan. They are majestic animals and not just because I love reading the porny books featuring wolf shifters.

Back in the day my now ex-husband and I heard about a man that bred hybrid wolves. We were interested and that's way before any legal aspects were really talked about. (I know..I'm old as crap.)
We visited the man and we immediately fell in love with one of the pups. He was a shy little guy but the owner would not just let us take him. We had to meet with hi
Diane S ☔
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Yellowstone and the wolf reclamation project, two main characters, McIntyre and one a wolf named O-six. The struggles with the ranchers, who see the wolves as predators, a risk to their cattle and their way of life. The hunters, who depend on elk for themselves and those they take on the hunt, are also concerned because a growing wolf population, means a lessening elk population. Those who love the wolves and spend much time watching them are of course on the side of the wolves. It was inter ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, non-fiction
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It's an incredibly well told story about a pack of wolves, particularly focused on the alpha female, in Yellowstone National Park. But it's also so much more than that. It's about people who are passionate about something, about fighting for what you love, about educating others, and how all three of these things combine to really make a difference in the world. And even if that difference seems small, it can have a great impact on a person's life. I love ...more
“Rick’s dream, though he seldom described it as such, was to someday tell a story so good that the people who heard it simply wouldn’t want to kill wolves anymore.”
- Nate Blakeslee, American Wolf


This book is haunted by all the John McPhee I've read. I wanted to like it more. I love wolves, adore Yellowstone, and am even planning a trip this winter to try and spot some damn wolves (even if I have to wrap my ass in bacon and tie my sorry self to a tree). But back to the book. It just wasn't that w
Vacillating between 4 and 5. I admit to being completely captivated by this book. The infuriating and opportunistic politics contrasted with the detailed and meticulous observations of the various wolf packs at Yellowstone, especially O-six. This was riveting. As a funny aside, the end of this book has a recording of a pack of wolves howling. My dog looked up from his luxurious slumber on the couch wanting to join in. Ancestral ties...

4.5 Stars

Listened to the audiobook. Mark Bramhall was fantas
I have an undying love for Yellowstone National Park. I visited it 36 years ago (1984). My memories of what I saw and experienced are still fresh!! Saw so many animal and ecological sights. No wolves though. Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995; this gave biologists a unique opportunity to study what happens when a top predator returns to an ecosystem. They were brought in to manage the rising elk population, which had been overgrazing much of the park.

This book studies the wolf and h
The central focus of this book is the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone Park and thus the Northern Rockies. By the 1920s wolves had for the most part become extinct in the lower 48 states of the US. In 1995 Canadian wolves were brought into Yellowstone Park. The book follows this reintroduction from the mid-90s to 2015.The conflict between conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists on one side and hunters, ranchers and miners on the other is the primary focus of this book. The bo ...more
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Before I picked up this book, I didn't give a rats A** about wolves. I had heard about the Yellowstone reintroduction program, but I'm no animal lover so I didn't really think a book about wolves would be all that interesting. But I saw this book on an awards list so I picked it up. Fast forward to me closing the book, tears in my eyes, and with a new favorite animal. This is a well-written book and I promise it will move you. Honestly, I don't even like dogs, but this book blew me away. But thi ...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
Have you ever been to Yellowstone? Did you spot a wolf there? This is the fascinating story of the Yellowstone Wolf Project and most especially the life story of O-Six, the great-granddaughter of one of the original wolves reintroduced to the national park in the winter of 1995.

Yellowstone had been essentially devoid of wolves for almost seven decades. Their reintroduction has not been without controversy and heated debate with the inevitable conflict between hunters, ranchers, wildlife managem
Blakeslee looks at the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction project 20 years in, and documents the biological and social ramifications in the park and the surrounding areas in American Wolf (alternate title of "The Wolf"). He introduces a cast of characters, both human and canine: scientists, alphas, park rangers, hunters, yearlings, and park visitors.

O-Six is the star at the center of this story, the other characters orbiting around her. O-Six is a dynamic and skilled alpha female, who leaves her n
L.G. Cullens
When I occasionally read an exceptional book that I find meaningful on multiple levels, I need to step back and let my mind clear before writing a review. This is one such book, arousing subjective feelings even as this jaded old naturalist reader's mind wrestled with tangential thoughts relative to humankind's relentless march to the abyss.

This book is oriented around the life of a Yellowstone wolf known as O-Six, and encompasses the broader wolf reintroduction program in Yellowstone National P
Hayley Stenger
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Who knew wolves were so complex and interesting? I have never looked into wolves or researched them, but I am glad I read this book and learned about what is going on in our country today since the reintroduction of wolves into the Yellowstone area during the mid-90s. I recommend this book to anyone even slightly interested in the topic.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it is good to think about why we pick a particular book at a particular time. Suppose that it is not just happenstance that guides us to a book but some inner principle of growth intent on giving us an awareness needed just then. Then I would say that what this true story about the introduction of wolves into Yellowstone in 1995 (re-introduction because they were there before and then eliminated) brought me was a kind of needed sadness for our times. I mean, sometimes it is not enough ...more
By the 1920s, wolves had almost been eradicated from the Lower 48 states. In 1995–6, though, two rival packs were brought in from Canada to repopulate Yellowstone National Park. Blakeslee gives a panoramic overview of the reintroduction project and the recurring clashes between hunters and biologists about whether wolves should be a protected species. He keeps his account relatable by focusing on particular family groups of wolves and bringing out the animals’ individual personalities.

One import
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I visited a wolf sanctuary in Pennsylvania for the first time last year. I enjoyed the visit, but it went from "nice" to "must-see" shortly before leaving: A wolf down the hill began howling. Within seconds, another one joined in. Then another. I was further up the hill and observing a white wolf liaising about in the shade. She listened to the howls intently, started to grow restless, and finally, threw up her head, letting out her own distinct howl. This went on for about a full minute. It gav ...more
Joy D
Non-fiction about the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone in Wyoming in the mid-1990s. Park ranger Rick McIntyre, after spending time at Denali in Alaska, relocated to Wyoming, and became a diligent wolf observer, documenting wolf behavior over the course of years. The author relied heavily on the Rick’s and other wolf-watchers’ field notes as reference material from which to create this account of wolves in the wild. The storyline focuses on an alpha female, O-Six (the year of her birth), ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
Game of Thrones with Wolves !
This book is a breathtaking written documentary of life, friendship, love, betrayal and politics.
Much like Game of Thrones, it makes you fall in love with the heroes of the story only to have your heart broken time and time again.
This books deserves more than 5 stars. It's educative, enlightening, thrilling, funny and sad at the same time.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For National Wolf Awareness Week I read American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee. It is the story of the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park and the battle between state and Federal agencies over wolf hunting. By telling the story of one wolf, O-6, Blakeslee engages the reader's heart and mind while revealing the complicated political process that determines American law that is too often independent of informed knowledge.

O-6 became a favorite of wolf watchers and her life is well docum
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh no! I thought I would be getting a breather from politics reading this book. But, I guess, politics are ubiquitous and the policies are often questionable.

Should wolves be hunted? If they are hunted, should there be limits? Should all states involved in wolf hunting have the same limits and hunting seasons? Should the decision be made by the states or by the federal government?- so much politics!

As a lover of animals I was enthralled by the descriptions of wolf behavior in Yellowstone Nationa
This was an emotionally-charged and gripping narrative! I did not think I would be so invested in the lives of the wolves mentioned in this book.

I have been fascinated by the Yellowstone wolves ever since I heard about the reintroduction project a little while back. Before reading this book, I thought that repopulating an apex predator would destroy the ecosystem. I could not be further from the truth. I did not know that Yellowstone Wolves are keystone species. Without them, the ecosystem beco
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A history of the effort to reintroduce wolves to the Yellowstone area. There's definitely pros and cons to the idea. Blakeslee is firmly in the "pro" camp.

Kate Olson
Stunningly addictive, this nonfiction account of wolves, Yellowstone and humanity reads like a fictional account of dueling mob families in a turf war. A must-read for nature lovers and hunters alike.

Thanks to Crown Publishing for providing me with an advance copy of this book for review purposes.

Nate Blakeslee has done what very few writers can. He has taken a group of wild animals and created an epic drama surrounding their lives ~ a drama that reads entirely like fiction or the best type
Jay Pruitt
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Man, in character, is more like a wolf… than he is any other animal.”
--Carveth Read, English philosopher--

American Wolf is all about the plight of wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone and surrounding states in the 1990s, and how local ranchers and elk hunters have fought against the growing population of packs by both illegal hunting and political pressure to remove wolves from the endangered species list in order to allow them to be legally hunted. In particular, the book focuses on probably the
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lot of the content seemed familiar to me and I realized that I have probably seen the documentary on the wolves described in the book.

The narrative here is told from the perspective of the gaming and hunting community in the area and the wolf preservationists and advocates. One of those advocates is Rick who watches the wolves and follows their lives and informs the public of their habits.

I loved watching through Rick's scope and learning about the mundane and the transcendent scenes. I don't
Denver Public Library
Sep 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: heidi, nonfiction
The enthralling story of O-Six, the celebrated and enigmatic descendant of one of the original wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995, and the complicated human reactions that ultimately led to her tragic death. Herein lies a tale about a wolf and the characters who orbit her life, as well as a riveting saga of hardship and triumph that tells a larger story about the ongoing cultural clash in the West—between those fighting for a vanishing way of life and those committed to restoring one of ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it

A visceral and dramatic look at the lives, deaths, and empires of Yellowstone's wolves. Animal stories done well are always incredible insights into the world around us. And this is a worthy addition to the catalogue. Based on thousands of hours of observation and a multi-million word journal, you could not get closer to the wolves of the park. A must-read if you loved H Is For Hawk or The Hidden Life Of Trees .
Fred Shaw
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
By 1920, all wolves in the lower 48 United States had been systematically killed off to the last one. 70 years later, in 1995, wolves were reintroduced in the west in the national parks, the first being the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. They were listed as endangered species to protect them from the ranchers who hated them. It has been a rousing success.

When the wolves were killed off in the early 20th century, it was to protect the cattle and other livestock of ranchers using public lands to
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“Rick’s dream, though he seldom described it as such, was to someday tell a story so good that the people who heard it simply wouldn’t want to kill wolves anymore.” 8 likes
“Can a wolf in the wild experience what we know as joy and happiness?” Rick said, his voice breaking noticeably. “And my answer is yes.” 5 likes
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