"Wolves are both the most misunderstood and maligned of animals and at the same time among the most majestic and mysterious of all our fellow creatures. We still hunt them, and they hunt us by haunting our imaginations. Science alone will not restore them to their rightful habitat. We need new stories of the wolf-human bond, a new history that embraces wolves not as enemies but as mirrors, allies, and good neighbors."
— Brenda Peterson
Imagine a country where one wild wolf is killed every day of the year by hunters and Wildlife Services. Although many indigenous peoples have spoken out in defense of these mammals, who were often seen as spiritual guides and allies, the carnage continues in states like Alaska, Wyoming, and Idaho. Peterson reminds us that in the past 200 years in North America only two people have allegedly been killed by wild wolves. Yet they were nearly exterminated in most of the United States by the twentieth century.
Peterson, a wonderful naturalist and prolific writer, covers the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park beginning in 1995. She explains the impact of wolves on their habitat, to the benefit of other species and the land itself.
She takes great pleasure in sharing the stories of famous animals, including OR7, the first wolf in California in 100 years, and Matriarch 06, the world's most famous wolf, the head of a pack who was shot when she wandered outside of Yellowstone. Wolves are very social animals and clearly show their emotions from grief to pleasure. Peterson taps into some of these emotions in section four of the book where she writes about wolves and the national commons, wolves at play, raised by wolves, and wolf music. She also includes the names and website links of organizations working to preserve wild wolves.