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Publisher's Summary

From the world-famous couple who lived alongside a three-generation wolf pack, this book of inspiration, drawn from the wild, will fascinate animal and nature lovers alike.

For six years Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived intimately with a pack of wolves, gaining their trust as no one has before. In this book the Dutchers reflect on the virtues they observed in wolf society and behavior. Each chapter exemplifies a principle, such as kindness, teamwork, playfulness, respect, curiosity, and compassion. Their heartfelt stories combine into a thought-provoking meditation on the values shared between the human and the animal world.

An Esquire pick of best nonfiction books of 2018 (So Far).

©2018 Jim and Jamie Dutcher (P)2018 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Wisdom of Wolves

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Reframing our relationship

I struggled a bit with the premise of this book, but overall enjoyed its observations. I felt like they were trying to balance two worlds that have a possibility to overlap--that of cold, hard facts and the intuitive understanding of animals--and that it would have been a more effortless writing if they had been able to just write what they honestly felt. I especially liked Jaime's more poetic chapters because she seemed more unapologetically attached to the wolves. And wouldn't you have been, too?

Here's the rub and why this book made me think: our relationship with non-domesticated animals is complex and kind of weird. On the one hand we have the more scientific approach where people can critique every aspect of how human interaction might taint the subject's behavior and the inevitable bias we might have of anthropomorphizing an animal. On the other hand, though, I think this view comes with some faulty logic. Our human ancestors likely interacting and even potentially co-habitated with wild beasts like these wolves. We are learning more and more that people and animals even had relationships of hunting cooperatively. So the idea that human influence "ruins" the integrity of their observations is almost kind of asinine. And, I mean, anthropomorphizing as a concept means that we don't consider ourselves animals and I think that's something maybe we should humble ourselves to more often, but anyway...

This book is an enjoyable and earnest account of two peoples' experience with a wolf pack in a controlled, semi-wild environment. Their observations and interactions with the animals are sweet, gentle, and well-intentioned. They attempt to balance the scientific approach with human heart and it does give some beautiful details of unprompted behaviors from the wolves. If we really think that wild wolves wouldn't act this way, given the opportunity, we aren't admitting our cooperative experience as inhabits on this planet. Their world is not that far from ours and this book shows where that line we've created starts to blur.

If you don't want a book on wolves interacting with humans, then don't read this. But why not? Ultimately we all share this world and interacting may give us a view into their world that makes us less at odds and, given the statistics of wolf hunting and the animosity toward such a beautiful creature, maybe some understanding could go a long way to reframing our relationship with wild things.

24 people found this helpful

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  • JP
  • 02-26-19

Good listen

The foreward is a little preachy and condescending, but once the actual story begins it's very good. The performances were good with Kate Mulligan being the best.

73 people found this helpful

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Amazing heartfelt story!

Amazing story about wolf life and their complex social structure. The story told here, of the Sawtooth pack, exhibits these creatures as compassionate, loyal, loving, grieving at times and intelligent sentient beings enjoying being what they are - wolves.

55 people found this helpful

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I got more out of it than I expected!

I downloaded this book due to my great interest in Wolves with a desire to learn more about them. I did that. What I did not expect however, is the emotion I felt from listening to the stories of these wolves. There undoubtedly are lessons we can learn from these fascinating creatures. They have shown to be selfless, caring, clever, forgiving and creatures of greater depth than we give them credit for. Listening to this great insight into wolves has caused me to reflect on my own life in becoming more pure in my intentions and actions. I also feel a greater appreciation for my own canine companion. I would recommend this book to any prospective listeners.

7 people found this helpful

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Captive wolves are not wild wolves

This is about two non-biologists who decided to build a fence and bring in individual wolves from different packs -And then watch and record their movements in an unnatural environment where the wolves could not hunt. Was this worth doing? Were the wolves better off? Debatable.

5 people found this helpful

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I felt misled

Ok, I can see how the video of these wolves could make for an amazing documentary. However, I can not consider these to be wild wolves. They were taught from their "infancy" to trust humans (specifically the author and his partner). The wolves were keep inside a chain link fence -granted it was a large one, but not as large as a wild pack's range. Elk and other food on the hoof (road kill) were provided for them by humans - and actually hauled into the compound. Yes, you can still study their dining hierarchy, but somehow it did not seem to grant them the title of a wolf pack.

I guess the final blow for me was when the author/videographer was able to crawl into the alpha female's underground den to investigate and examine her new born pups - and he explained that she would not even allow the other wolves in. Ok, I raise German Shepherds, and I know a human has to be really trusted by this domesticated dog mom for her to relax enough to allow a human to touch a newborn pup- it would, I imagine, have to be a really, really, trusting relationship to do so with a half wild wolf.

In short the story somehow lost credibility for me.

4 people found this helpful

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amazing story

this is the best and most tear jerking book I have listened to on audible by far

4 people found this helpful

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R E S P E C T

After going on and on about respecting the wolves, they take the newborn pups away from the pack to handrear them. That’s when I gave up Most of the time reading this I was thinking either “duh!” Or “what drugs are you guys on?”

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointingly entertaining...

Let's start with the "entertaining" part....but for the narrators, who clearly did an excellent job (imho), capturing the passion of the authors in describing their experiences, observations and opinons... I would not have listened to the end....thus they are obviously deserving of the 5 stars....
The "disappointing" starts with the introduction...which states that the intent of the book is NOT to "anthropomorphize" the members of this artificially contrived "wolf pack" (human selected, reared and continually fed by humans behind high fences) and then spend the next 5 hours and 4 minutes doing just that... some of the observations were interesting...but the analogies and comparisons to the best of human behaviours (empathy and the like) while rarely offering the same analysis for the worst of human behaviours (bullying for example) seemed a stretch in most instances....real wolf biologists (which the authors are not) easily explain these behavior in real (as in wild) wolves which the authors appear to simply disregard in their advocacy to humanize the beasts. Likewise, the utter contempt, if not revulsion (specially from the female author) of hunters (ranchers, farmers) clearly demonstrate a refusal to even try to understand the underlying issues. In essence, this book is a propaganda piece on wolf conservancy... which... if THAT had been stated in the previews... would have at least given the listeners a fair shot on the story content up front. Be that as it may, there were just enough nuggets sprinkled throughout the story, mostly anecdotes about the conduct of actual wild wolves (which were not a part of the authors' grand experiment), that made slogging through the the rest of it tolerable.
I think I probably got more real information about, and empathized more with a wolf from also listening to Jack London's "White Fang," and was actually wholly entertained in the process.

2 people found this helpful

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Great Story and Incredible Life Lessons

I downloaded this book more at a curiosity than anything else and ended up loving it. The stories shared of the wolf packs brought a love and understanding towards them, and also amazed me how their stories could be tied into my own life. It was not just a book about wolves, but a window into how they live, their curiosity, and what makes them special. It helped remove some of my own personal fears as I gained a better understanding of them.

As I listened I ended up using some of the stories as lessons to discuss with my family and friends. I would recommend this book for those who want to learn more about these magnificent animals and also if you just want to listen to some great stories that can help you get to know yourself a little better as well.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Regulus1993
  • 05-15-22

Different point of view about life

There are some questions that one can ask himself during and after listening this book.

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  • lilac
  • 04-02-22

wonderful

This is a brilliant book. There are some sad moments which I guess is inevitable when you're detailing the lives of any animal in the modern world. Lots of amazing insights.

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  • Jordan
  • 03-14-22

Beautiful

A real insight into these amazing and beautiful animals. Completely opened my eyes. Made me feel in so many different ways. Loved it

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  • Jordan Smith
  • 11-25-21

Beautiful insight into the life of the wolf pack

This book is wonderful. An enlightening account to the real story of the wolf.
Each pack mates character is captured so beautifully and I became fond of them all and the role they played within their family of wolves. At times devastating sad, it is a must read for all. Wolves have a wisdom we can all learn from.

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  • Topdogmeldog
  • 11-08-21

Get the tissues ready

Heartwarming and heartbreaking, beautiful book. I have never cried so much listening to an audiobook. It gives me hope to know people are doing this sort of work in the world and I just hope people listen.

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  • W. Meekins
  • 10-28-21

A beautiful glimpse into the reality of Wolves !

A lovely memoir of a deep relationship with these
amazing wolves . The story of the Sawtooth pack .
Beautifully written , superbly read .

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  • Goronwy-Wyn
  • 10-11-21

The time to re establish Wolves is now.

A fascinating read from an interesting pair of researchers / film makers.
It was great to hear their advocacy but sad that the “killers” are so stupid.

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  • jojo
  • 08-11-21

Beautiful

I felt I learnt so much from this book gaining respect and appreciation of this much understood and often vilified animal. The stories were told with great insight and compassion. Both lovely and philosophical writing.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-14-21

Educational

Great entertainng and educational piece of book. I recomend it to everyone who want to know more about wolves.

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  • 321456987
  • 06-08-21

Worth a listen

Narration is decent. Story is interesting, learned some quite interesting things about wolf behaviour. and the total book isn't very long, so definitely worth it.