Book by Barry Lopez
, first published 1978.
The book details the relationship between wolves and the human race on both sides of the Atlantic, including the perception of wolves in folklore. It is divided into four main sections:
- Canis lupus Linnaeus
This section of the book is a brief description of the evolution and sociology of the wolf, mostly derived from the works of L. David Mech. The reader is immediatly captured by the vivid description which opens the first chapter, of a day seen through the eyes of a male timber wolf. It rapidly moves on to equally vivid descriptions of the social structure of the wolf-pack, and of lupine hunting techniques.
- And a Cloud Passes Overhead
The second section of the book deals with the relationship between the wolf and various native American peoples, in particular the Inuit, who called the animal "amaguk", and the Skidi Pawnee, who held the wolf as the perfect warrior.
- The Beast of Waste and Desolation
This part of the book deals with the anti-wolf pogroms of 1800's (and early 1900's) America, which almost totally wiped out the wolf population of the lower forty-eight states. The title is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt.
- And a Wolf shall Devour the Sun
The final section deals with wolves in European folklore and mythology, focusing on such subjects as the werewolf, the fairy tales of Little Red Riding Hood, and - as can be seen from the title - the Norse legends of Fenris and Ragnarok.
There is also an epilogue
, entitled "On the Raising of Wolves and a New Ethology",
which is an engaging account of the author's rearing of two orphaned red wolves at his Oregon home.
In spite of its debt to Mech, the book is not the most accurate description of the wolf in the wild available. It was, however, extremely popular when it was first published and much of the modern public's awareness of the wolf's plight can be traced directly to its publication. It is considered one of the "bibles" of spiritual lycanthropy, and was the inspiriation behind Whitley Streiber's novel (and subsequent film), Wolfen.