THE RISE OF WOLF 8 by Rick McIntyre


Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone's Underdog
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From a dedicated wolf observer and naturalist comes an admiring and detailed portrait of Wolf 8, a nervy runt who was bullied by his bigger brothers but who grew up to become the alpha male of his pack.

While the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park has been widely reported in the media and written about in numerous books, McIntyre (A Society of Wolves, 1993, etc.) gives the story a special twist. In addition to chronicling his close tracking of the wolf packs in Yellowstone and noting their movements, he comments on their personalities, telling readers about their behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. The author had become a student of wolves before any were released into Yellowstone, and for 15 years, he awoke daily to watch them, recognizing them by sight and referring to dozens of individuals by the numbers assigned to them (at the beginning of the book, he includes a list of the “principal wolves”). In fact, as noted in an afterword, “from June 2000 to August 2015, [McIntyre] went out for 6,175 consecutive days.” The courageous behavior of one young gray wolf facing up to a grizzly bear caught his attention early on; in most chapters, the exploits of Wolf 8 are at the center of the narrative. He identifies strongly with this particular animal, drawing on his own memories of roughhousing play with a remote father and as a boy facing bullies. McIntyre exults in Wolf 8’s befriending of two young pups, which made him the mate of their mother, the alpha female of her pack. Refreshingly, the author does not anthropomorphize. As he notes, the wolves are still wild creatures, driven to breed and to kill, and he provides a relatively sentiment-free depiction of the inevitable decline and death of Wolf 8. Robert Redford provides the foreword.

A comprehensive account permeated by love for and understanding of wolves.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-77164-521-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Greystone Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019