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

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

Nate Blakeslee. Crown, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-101-90278-3

Blakeslee (Tulia), a writer at large for Texas Monthly, brings the feeling of a celebrity biography to the story of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park and its aftermath. He centers on the rise, reign, and family life of O-Six, matriarch of the Lamar Canyon pack and so well-known to park visitors that the New York Times gave her an obituary. Blakeslee derives his beautiful, detailed descriptions of the interactions between wolves from a massive amount of observational material meticulously collected over years by wolf watcher Laurie Lyman and park wildlife expert Rick McIntyre. The latter receives a complementary profile here that almost works as a secondary biography in its own right. Blakeslee escorts readers up close to interpack conflict as well as human enemies of wolf preservation. He details legislative moves, which vary from state to state and are based in ranching politics more than science, that seek to remove wolves from the endangered list prematurely and establish hunting zones just outside of park limits—and within the ranges of the Yellowstone packs. Most extraordinarily, Blakeslee interviews the hunter who legally shot O-Six in 2012 (“She didn’t tell me she was famous before I shot her”), offering a close and unsympathetic view of the other side. Agent: David R. Patterson, Stuart Krichevsky Literary. (Oct.)