In the main, Blakeslee’s well-rendered story will be familiar to anyone who has followed the Yellowstone wolves, but those...




On-the-ground reporting on the fate of Canis lupus as a creature once nearly extirpated struggles to regain a home in the Rockies.

Think life is tough for American humans? Try living as a wolf, even with the putative protection of the federal government in Yellowstone National Park. As Thomas McNamee reported 20 years ago in The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone, reintroduction was a venture as much political as ecological. Now comes Texas Monthly writer Blakeslee (Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town, 2005) to chronicle just how true that observation remains. The author serves up two protagonists: a renegade biologist named Rick McIntyre who, more than any living individual, was instrumental in returning the wolf to its former home and keeping it safe there, and a wolf named O-Six, an alpha female who was a star in the social media world thanks to some canny promotion by reintroduction activists. As Blakeslee tracks O-Six’s movements through the Lamar Valley of Wyoming and surrounding areas, he examines the lives of other wolves in and around the park, some in her pack, others in competing wolf clans. O-Six’s travels led to tragedy, as he writes; he interviews the hunter who killed her, who proudly tells him, “I’m against wolves…I want to make sure that’s clear.” It is. Blakeslee takes pains to try to understand the views of hunters and ranchers while making sure that it’s similarly clear that the wolves merit a place in the sun. Along the way, he examines the long and ongoing back and forth of listing and delisting the wolf on the federal list of protected species, the wolf being, to many in the western states affected, a sort of federal agent and therefore automatically suspect.

In the main, Blakeslee’s well-rendered story will be familiar to anyone who has followed the Yellowstone wolves, but those who have not will find this a solid overview of recent events—evenhanded but clearly and rightly on the side of the wolves.

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-90278-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.


An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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