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The Wisdom of Wolves Reviews

The Wisdom of Wolves by Elli H. Radinger

The Wisdom of Wolves

How Wolves Can Teach Us to Be More Human

Elli H. Radinger

3.33 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Michael Joseph Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 21 Feb 2019
ISBN: 9780241346716

In this unforgettable book, wolf expert and naturalist Elli Radinger draws on her 25 years of first-hand experience among the wolves of Yellowstone National Park to tell us their remarkable stories. Wolves aren't wolfish. They can die of broken hearts, show tenderness to their young and elderly, and their packs are led by couples, with the key decisions made by females.

4 stars out of 5
2 Jan 2020

"wolves have much to teach us about the art of living well"

As she observed the wolf pack, Elli realised that their social behaviour is very similar to that of human beings. 

In terms of family dynamics, leadership, love, loss and playfulness, 'the wolf is a great teacher from whom we can learn a lot about life.'

Elli's bestselling book suggests that in a high-tech age, when so many of us have become alienated from nature, wolves have much to teach us about the art of living well.

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
21 Feb 2019

"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."

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.

3 stars out of 5
Helen Davies
17 Feb 2019

"calmly persuasive"

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.