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Of Wolves and Men Paperback – September 1, 1979

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Revised edition (September 1, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684163225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684163222
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"The wolf exerts a powerful influence on the human imagination. It takes your stare and turns it back on you." So Barry Lopez writes in his first major work of nonfiction, a careful study of the way that wolves and humans have interacted over centuries, and the way that the wolf has become so central to our thinking about animals. Drawing on considerable personal experience with wolves and on an astonishing range of literature, Lopez argues for the necessity of wolves in the world, which would be much poorer without their howl. Thanks in part to the influence of this essential book about Canis lupus, first published in 1978, we know a great deal more about wolves and are all the better prepared to assure their protection.


John Fowles A remarkable book, both biologically absorbing and humanly rich, and one that should be read by every ecologically concerned American.

George Schaller Animal Kingdom Of Wolves and Men is not only the best popular account of an animal I have read in a long time, but also something new -- a bridge between books of the past and those of the future, which, it is hoped, will incorporate and expand the perceptions so eloquently treated here.

Edmund Fuller Wall Street Journal A splendid, beautiful book.

Bayard Webster New Fork Times Book Review Fascinating....His book has a wealth of observation, mythology and mysticism about wolves that adds a colorful part to the still unfinished mosaic that defines the wolf.

Walter Clemons Newsweek Eloquent....His own patient effort to understand a despised, feared and heavily mythologized beast induces a shiver, of strangeness, the sign of fresh, original work.

Robert Kirsch Los Angeles Times Unusually informative and sensitive.

Boston Globe Haunting....has something of value to say to all of us.

Whitley Streiber Washington Post Brilliant...a work of intelligence, dedication and beauty, deserving the widest possible attention not only for the sake of wolves but also for the sake of men.

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Customer Reviews

Barry Lopez does some of the best nature writing around, elegant and fact-filled.
Steven M. Anderson
Barry Lopez has done the wolf and the reader a great service with the extensive research.
Damian Jungermann
There is much to be learned from wolves, and this book goes a long way in teaching it.
Edward M. Erdelac

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Edward M. Erdelac on March 11, 2003
Format: School & Library Binding
Its rare that a study like this one is both entertaining and informative, but Mr. Lopez's book is precisely that. We are led through the ages peering at the strenuous relations of humanity and wolf-kind, from primal man's envy of this accomplished, loyal hunter, through his hateful denial of their ties, and finally to its present day nebulous dual attitude of reconciliation and euthanasia. It can best be summed up in the chapters referring to the attitudes of the ancient Greeks -especially the Arcadians, who first emulated the wolf, then hated and feared him as a sheepkiller, and then looked on him with pity and sadness and guilt. I also found the descriptions of wolves in Norse literature indicative of the strange envy/hatred/fear man seems to hold for this creature. Meanwhile the wolf lopes on through all of this, steadfast and unchanging - wanting no part in man's world, content with its own. There is much to be learned from wolves, and this book goes a long way in teaching it. In the closing chapters everything ties together in a manner that it is pretty amazing and eye-opening, even going so far as to point to the inherent relationship between a cosmic disaster and the decline of wolves. Maybe that came of sounding crackpot, but I'm not the author - read him for yourself. Its a great buy, and will stay with you for a long time to come.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Ryan McNabb on April 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
A group of school children was asked to each draw a picture of a wolf. They all drew the typical savage dog-like monster, complete with huge teeth, bloody fangs, demonic eyes, the works. Then an animal handler brought a real wolf into the classroom, on a leash. They were awestruck, and took turns patting it as it was led around the room and introduced to them all. Afterwards, they were again asked to draw a picture of a wolf. This time, the picture was of wolves with big, kind eyes - and enormous, outsized feet. No fangs, no blood.
That's what this book will do to the casual reader, show you the wolf you don't know, and adjust your preconceptions about the wolf you THINK you know. A marvelous achievement; must reading.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
The greatest virtue of this book is that it makes you care. Some of the great wolf books presume already that you have an interest in the subject, like Mech's, as fine and as informative and as authoritative as it is, won't necessarily create a sense of awe like Lopez's. But through a judicious use of scientific and mythological materials, fused together with a marvelous literary sense, Lopez creates an epic retelling of the wolf in North America.
Since reading this book for the first time, a host of sections have remained vivid to me. For instance, a schoolroom that is to be visited by a wolf and its handler. The children are asked to make a drawing of a wolf beforehand, and most create a beast with huge and menacing teeth. After the visit, they are told once again to draw a wolf, and this time draw a dog-like animal with enormous paws. No other section of the book emphasized to me how dreadfully we misconceive wolves. Lopez meanders over the course of Western civilization harvesting tales and stories--both scientific and mythic--recounting the myriad ways we have thought about wolves. Few of our imaginings do their fine qualities justice, and most often we demonize them. As a result, the wolf as we know it is largely a creation of our fevered imaginations. Lopez tries to break through the fictions about wolves to focus more on their truer qualities and natures. The heartbreaking pages that end the book bring to mind the great tragedy it was for the North American wolf for Europeans to have discovered America.
One might have to cut the book a tiny bit of slack because of the graphics.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lupa VINE VOICE on April 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for everyone. Lopez, a superior author in his own right, created THE classic book on wolf behavior and on the relationship between wolves and humans from ancient to modern times.

The first few chapters deal with wolf biology and behavior, and dispel many of the myths--including the idea that nobody has ever been attacked by a healthy wolf in North America (nobody, apparently, thought to check with American Indian experience in history). It's a very, very thorough exploration of the wolf as a mammal, as an animal.

Then Lopez goes into the tangled thornbush of wolf mythology and folklore, and how it affected the way humans slaughtered wolves (or revered them), and how the two fed off of eachother and built up the human (mis)conception of the wolf that has only recently been shattered.

There's a lot of heartbreaking information about wolf hunting, and just how devastated the wolf population has been. Reduced to a fraction of their former range, it's amazing that wolves even still exist.

This book is a must-read, not only for wolf lovers, but for everyone to understand why we have so abused the natural world. For many people, the wolf IS the wild, and how we treat the wolf mirrors how we treat the wild.
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