Unfortunately, The Wisdom of Wolves descends into the genre of self-help. Humans are ‘lost in technology’, Radinger insists, which endangers moral order. By looking to wolves we can be reminded of a conservative idea of humanness: love your family, value your home, respect your elders, be altruistic, have fun!...The most interesting aspect of the book is the political debate into which it steps. While absent from the UK, wolves are thriving in Germany. After the wall came down, they arrived from Eastern Europe. Today in the territory around Berlin, 26 wolf packs have been documented, when ten years ago there were none. These animal immigrants have divided communities down party lines: the left and the Greens welcome them, while the right and the farmers do not. Radinger hopes to convert sceptics by demonstrating wolves’ compatibility with traditional values. But in doing so, the curiosities of animal life that sit outside this worldview are tidied away.
Her book is a strange hybrid: part impassioned memoir, part natural history study, and small part photo gallery. Her access to her subjects is extraordinary and her analysis simple... She is calmly persuasive... Yet however immersive and informative Radinger is about life in the wilderness, her book fails to sing. As a memoirist, she is overcautious about personal details...there is little academic rigour and too much anthropomorphising. It makes for an unusual book... while the source material might be surprising, the advice is howlingly obvious.