230 pages, 1 b/w photo, 7 b/w illustrations
"I was a predator, myself, and lived close to the land." With these words, Paul L. Errington begins this lost classic. Now in print for the first time, Of Wilderness and Wolves celebrates a key predator: the wolf. One of the most influential biologists of the twentieth century, Errington melds his expertise in wildlife biology with his love for natural beauty to create a visionary and often moving reexamination of humanity's relationship with these magnificent and frequently maligned animals.
Tracing his own relationship with wolves from his rural South Dakota upbringing through his formative years as a professional trapper to his landmark work as an internationally renowned wildlife biologist, Errington delves into our irrational fear of wolves. He forthrightly criticizes what he views as humanity's prejudice against an animal that continues to serve as the very emblem of the wilderness we claim to love, but that too often falls prey to our greed and ignorance. A friend of Aldo Leopold, Errington was an important figure in the conservation efforts in the first half of the twentieth century. During his lifetime, wolves were considered vicious, wantonly destructive predators; by the mid-1900s, they had been almost completely eliminated from the lower forty eight states. Their reintroduction to their historical range today remains controversial.
Lyrical yet unsentimental, Of Wilderness and Wolves provides a strong and still timely dose of ecological realism for the abusive mismanagement of our natural resources. It is a testament to our shortsightedness and to Errington's vision that Of Wilderness and Wolves, its publication so long delayed, still speaks directly to our environmental crises.
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Paul L. Errington (1902-1962) was listed by Life magazine in 1961 as one of the top ten naturalists of his day, along with Rachel Carson, Joseph Wood Krutch, and Roger Tory Peterson, and he won the Wildlife Society's Aldo Leopold Award in 1962. In addition to Of Men and Marshes, Muskrats and Marsh Management, and Muskrat Populations, he was the author of some two hundred scientific articles and three posthumous books: Of Predation and Life, The Red Gods Call, and A Question of Values.
Editor of Errington's Of Men and Marshes (Iowa reprint, 2012), formerly a wildlife biologist, and now a professor of English at Iowa State University, Matthew Wynn Sivils is the author of American Environmental Fiction, 1782-1847. He lives in Ames, Iowa.