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Vicious: Wolves and Men in America by Jon T.…

Vicious: Wolves and Men in America (2004)

by Jon T. Coleman

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602197,694 (3.5)7



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DNF. Found the argument facile and the book frankly unnecessary as a work of historical study.
  9inchsnails | Mar 7, 2016 |
In the first few pages of this book, we learn that non-rabid wolves have never killed a human in the lower 48 states. Humans, however, have tortured wolves into near extinction in their quest to remove wolves. Even naturalist John James Audubon described scenes of horrific torture of this predator.

The author's premise is that settlers were exceptionally cruel in removing wolves as an outlash against their hard positions in a new environment that often did not live up to their rosy expectations and had far more hardships than anticipated.

While I learned a lot from his position, I believe he missed the importance of livestock to its owners. He also undervalues the hunting culture in both pioneer days and in current times. I am not a hunter, but I belive that his negative remarks on hunting also show a lack of understanding of this aspect of the puzzle. He refers to hunters multiple times as slaughtering 'furry animals'. He refers to the poacher of a reintroduced wolf as a having "a stockpile of masculine totems -- guns, skins, and antlers -- that helped a small man feel big".

Unfortunately the author is not a naturalist and his book, while having some intresting information, is not the balanced look at wolf populations that I hoped it would be. ( )
  streamsong | May 12, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300103905, Hardcover)

Over a continent and three centuries, American livestock owners destroyed wolves to protect the beasts that supplied them with food, clothing, mobility, and wealth. The brutality of the campaign soon exceeded wolves’ misdeeds. Wolves menaced property, not people, but storytellers often depicted the animals as ravenous threats to human safety. Subjects of nightmares and legends, wolves fell prey not only to Americans’ thirst for land and resources but also to their deeper anxieties about the untamed frontier.

Now Americans study and protect wolves and jail hunters who shoot them without authorization. Wolves have become the poster beasts of the great American wilderness, and the federal government has paid millions of dollars to reintroduce them to scenic habitats like Yellowstone National Park.

Why did Americans hate wolves for centuries? And, given the ferocity of this loathing, why are Americans now so protective of the animals? In this ambitious history of wolves in America—and of the humans who have hated and then loved them—Jon Coleman investigates a fraught relationship between two species and uncovers striking similarities, deadly differences, and, all too frequently, tragic misunderstanding.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"In this history of wolves in America - and of the humans who have hated and then loved them - Jon Coleman investigates a relationship between two species and uncovers striking similarities, deadly differences, and, all to frequently, tragic misunderstanding."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300103905, 0300119720

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