The Real Wolf

The Real Wolf

Hessman, Pat
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In Montana, the management of gray wolves is right up there with religion and politics on the list of things to avoid discussing in good company. The Real Wolf: The Science, Politics, and Economics of Co-Existing with Wolves in Modern Times (Farcountry Press, $21) purports to be a balanced, well-researched look at the modern wolf controversy, but it only succeeds on one of those two accounts.

No one can accuse the book of being poorly researched—every claim made by the multiple, well-qualified contributors is backed up with hard data. That said, it all comes off as extremely one-sided. This book proposes no co-existence, and no advocates for wolves are interviewed. All contributors firmly place themselves in the anti-wolf side of the debate. Gray wolves are painted as nothing less than environmentally pestilent, economically catastrophic, disease-carrying canine hellspawn coming to kill humans after devouring every living thing in the forests.

While informative, this book won’t solve any debates. It gives the anti-wolf camp a hearty chest-thumping, and will do little to convince the pro-wolf camp otherwise. 

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