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Arctic Wild: The Remarkable True Story of One Couple's Adventures Living Among Wolves Paperback – November 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Lyons Press; 1st edition (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155821688X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558216884
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the early 1950s, armed with the rudest of survival gear, a husband-and-wife documentary team touched down in arguably the most remote wilderness in North America, Alaska's Brooks Range. Their mission: to film caribou. The annual migration of vast herds to and from their natal grounds north of the Arctic Circle was considered one of the world's preeminent--if little-known--wildlife spectacles. But on this great animal stage another species of charismatic megafauna unexpectedly one-upped the ungulates. Lois Crisler's 1956 memoir, Arctic Wild, vividly recalls the couple's 18 months in-country and the wolves that would help her work earn a place among the classics of natural history.

The story opens like many an outdoor adventure yarn: extreme living conditions, the occasional grizzly encounter, no shortage of gut-busting work. Then the Crislers decide to adopt two orphaned wolf pups, a male and a female. The result is a journey through wolf development and behavior they never could have predicted. Assuming their human companions to be part of the pack, the pups go about the business of growing quite naturally into adult wolves. Their progression is punctuated by startling moments described in detail by the author, as in their learning to howl:

Sometimes [the female] ululated, drawing her tongue up and down her mouth like a trombone slide. Sometimes on a long note she held the tip of her tongue curled against the roof of her mouth. She shaped her notes with her cheeks, retracting them for plangency, or holding the sound within them for horn notes. She must have had pleasure and sensitiveness about her song for if I entered on her note she instantly shifted by a note or two: wolves avoid unison singing; they like chords.
The Crislers observe, film, and note every nuance of the wolves' change from playful pups to fully grown wolves--wolves that display individual personalities, exceptional intelligence, and highly articulated physical gestures (one of the pair, for instance, curiously investigates a sleeping human by lifting an eyelid with its canine). Revealed is a highly developed social mammal rather than the bloodthirsty murderer of popular accounts.

While the Crislers' pioneer spirit is by itself a remarkable tale, Arctic Wild's fame derives from its place as one of the first narratives to explore wolf habits in an accessible manner that is free of cant and politicization. In his foreword to the reprint edition, wolf expert L. David Meche (author of the seminal The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species) notes that Arctic Wild introduced to a skeptical and generally wolf-fearing public the animal's "beguiling personality." In fact, one might call Arctic Wild the first voice in the wilderness that, decades later, would lead to a gathering howl and finally the once-inconceivable reintroduction of wolves to former ranges like Yellowstone National Park. --Langdon Cook

Review

"Vivid and enticing. . . an extraordinary contribution."--New York Times

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
Heartbreakingly beautiful story.
MT
To say that this book was wonderful would be a terrible understatement - you may never read a book like this again the rest of your life.
Michael
Much credit for my work in rescuing and rehabbing domestic and wild animals over the past 3 decades must go to Arctic Wild.
"bajgd"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael on January 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Every few millennia, a book comes along that touches your heart and spirit, leaving you powerless to halt the tremendous urging of your soul to fly far, far away and seek the wonders that you have just read about.
Well along the lines of "Ishmael", except this is pure non-fiction.
Arctic Wild will fascinate you and fill you with a sense of awe and joy, the likes of which you've never felt by reading a book.
To say that this book was wonderful would be a terrible understatement - you may never read a book like this again the rest of your life.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "bajgd" on June 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first read Arctic Wild in the 1960's and have never forgotten the power of it's words and the compassion the authors demonstrated in showing the world that wolves are not to be feared. Much credit for my work in rescuing and rehabbing domestic and wild animals over the past 3 decades must go to Arctic Wild.
Having recently rescued two white wolves and being privileged to enjoy their friendship and listen to their songs, Arctic Wild has once again brought special meaning to my life.
I would like to see Arctic Wild made a required reading for all junior high and high school aged children for they are the fertile ground for changing attitudes. Of all the animal stories I've read and written, Arctic Wild stands above the rest.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was one of the best books I've ever read. It was very heartwarming and sad at the same time.
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