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A naturalist's delight, Lawrence's 16th book sings the praises of one of the more misunderstood animals. Lawrence (The North Runner, Secret Go the Wolves, The Ghost Walkers) narrates his studies of a captive pack of untamed wolves in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This brings his studies full circle, as he had previously had the opportunity to study and write about both wolves in the wild and about two wolf cubs which he had raised himself. Lawrence writes with the enthusiasm of one who is up to his eyeballs in his work, yet with a gentility that makes of his work a literary experience: ""No one can deceive the eyes of a wolf. They always know. They can strip away the shams of civilization. ""Here, Lawrence treats the wolf as the nearest cousin to man in its social ramifications. Probably the most interesting outcome of his studies is his discovery that wolves seem to react to pheromones which are emitted by each other. In this way, they are able somehow to locate their own bloodlines in packs (they are also, apparently, able to distinguish between bloodlines in humans, as well). Thus, wolves will be friendly to their own bloodlines in a pack and hostile to others. Lawrence's obvious love and respect for wolves matches that of previous writers, such as L. David Mech, who also studied the animal near Lake Superior in his The Wolf(1970), or Barry Lopez, whose Of Wolves and Men (1978) was more concerned with the mythology and mysticism surrounding canus lupus. In Praise of Wolves will help to rescue the reputation of the wolf, often seen as an enemy of man (when, in fact, he is the ancestor of ""man's best friend""). After all, there is no recorded incident of a wolf ever attacking a human on our continent. A labor of love, lovingly rendered.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1986
Publisher: Henry Holt