Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The man who lives with wolves

Remember how I was saying for a long time that the HTML box was gone from my reviews in goodreads and I couldn't figure out what the problem was? Well, I'm still maintaining that I'm not crazy, but today the HTML box thing showed up again, so here's the review as it was published in goodreads.

The Man Who Lives with WolvesThe Man Who Lives with Wolves by Shaun Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is really, really interesting.  It's a suggested reading at the end of Jodi Picoult's Lone Wolf (which I also enjoyed), except this is the true story of a guy who actually went and lived with a wild pack of wolves for a while.

It's late, so this is likely to be a disorganized review, so bear with me.

First, I'd like to say that Shaun Ellis does not seem as weird as one would think of someone from the British Isles who came to Idaho to learn about wolves, who thinks one of his brothers is a Native American, and then spent over a year living in the wild with a pack of wolves.

That having been said, while I respect his work a lot, I don't think I like him very much.  Mostly because he has 5 kids with two different women, and he's never really around any of them.  I'm really not the sort of person who thinks you have to be married to have kids, but I sort of feel like, after so many, you should be able to make a commitment to one of the mothers, and you really ought to spend some time with your kids because their mothers are exhausted! So it's a little hard for me to like him after he shows all of this care towards raising wolves, and very little to taking care of his own kids.

I also learned a lot about the different roles wolves play within the pack and how that translates into dog ownership.

Wow, and it's really late, so I've just run out of things to say.  Seriously, though, you really should read this book.

Oh wait, I've remembered something else I want to say (and this isn't in the goodreads review).  Ellis talks a lot about how he doesn't use a scientific method--how he just climbs in with the wolves and learns rather than observing from a distance. So he's basically interfering with all of his experiments, but he also basically says that that's the point. He's trying to learn about wolves so he can improve human's relationships with them by better understanding them.  He's also like to get to a point where scientists don't disregard the work he's doing--as far as Ellis is concerned both he and scientists are doing valuable work and rather that debate the merits of each method, they should just get on with their work. He makes an interesting point.

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