Thursday, January 28, 2010
Rob touts the virtues of The Man Who Lives with Wolves
The author didn't just sorta kinda live with wolves. Not just live in the general vicinity of wolves. We're not talking figuratively or hyperbolically either. Shaun Ellis (who admits to maybe being a tad bit whacko) lived as a member in good standing of a pack of wild wolves. During this time, he did not see or talk to another human being. He slept with the wolves and ate what they ate. They became his family.
The book begins with the author's childhood in England and the reader gets some sense of how the adult Ellis comes by his intense interest in wolves. The actual infiltration (his word--maybe from his army training) of the pack came only after months of patient observation and painful initiation. Do not try this at home.
As fascinating as the personal story is, it's the insights about wolf behavior (and dog behavior) that really makes the book extraordinary. Ellis is not a scientist (in the traditional sense) and so the observations and theories are presented in eminently readable fashion with the humor and pathos of the author's own incredible experiences.
Whatever the quality of the author's TV show Living with the Wolfman, which I have not seen, I highly recommend the book.