A thoughtful account of the timber wolf's return to the Northern Rockies. ``It has been sixty years, thirty wolf generations, since the last wolf pups were poisoned in the Yellowstone,'' writes McNamee (A Story of Deep Delight, 1990). Led by an activist group called the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, of which McNamee is a past president, biologists successfully pressed to undo the destruction of this predator, which had played an essential role in the health of the Yellowstone ecosystem. That effort, he writes, involved a huge campaign to raise public awareness and to enlist the support of private individuals, and it worked. Interior Department hearings on reintroduction produced some 160,000 letters from across the country, ``the biggest official citizen response to any federal action ever.'' Not all those responses were favorable, and much of McNamee's account is given to studying the divisive politics of reintroduction, in which environmentalists squared off against so-called Wise Use movement activists in court and on the streets. Those political debates heated up when fewer than a dozen wolves were finally released in Yellowstone National Park two years ago; not long afterward, one of them was shot down by a pair of local yahoos, one of whom served six months in jail for the crime. The surviving wolves have established themselves in their former habitat and appear to be thriving, although thanks to political pressure from opponents, federal support for the reintroduction program has shriveled. McNamee peppers his episodic narrative with asides about his travels in central Italy, where a similar reintroduction program is taking place, and looks at other efforts elsewhere in the US. A good one-volume reference for fans of Canis lupus, although the story has been widely reported elsewhere, such as in Rick McIntyre's War Against the Wolf.