January-February Book Club Selection: “American Wolf” by Nate Blakeslee

During my podcast interview with renowned historian and author Dan Flores, I asked him to name his favorite books about the American West. He mentioned several classics, and then went on to describe in glowing terms a not-yet-released book about wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Dan, the author of two of my all-time favorites—Coyote America and American Serengeti—described the book as “The Game of Thrones story of modern western wolves, [unfolding] in just as riveting a fashion. It is an absolutely mesmerizing read.”

The book has since been released, and if it’s is good enough for Dan, it’s good enough for us! So the January-February 2018 selection for the Mountain & Prairie Book Club is:

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee

Wolves are a delicate subject here in the West, and most discussions of the legendary canine are sure to evoke strong reactions from anyone connected to the region. The animal and its influence touch almost every aspect of life in the West, including agriculture, hunting, conservation, ecology, government, sociology, tourism, and environmentalism, just to name a few. It’s difficult to understand the modern-day West without understanding wolves, so this should be an interesting and informative read.

Given the lightening-rod status of wolves in the West, this book selection and the ensuing discussion will serve as a revealing test case to determine if this book club will be a civil and productive endeavor. As you know, the Mountain & Prairie Book Club only has one rule: Be Nice. Please keep that front of mind as you read and discuss with the group. We all love the West and are here to learn from each other, so please Be Nice.

If you’d like to participate:

  • Grab a copy of American Wolf — purchase it from Amazon or your local bookseller, or check it out from your local library. Start reading it.
  • Head over to our Goodreads Group. Create an account, then join in the conversation in the online discussion forum. As you read, give your feedback on the book, pose questions to the group, and share your first-hand experience with wolves in the West. The only way this works is with lot of participation from lots of people, so the more the better.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement on Goodreads regarding a live online discussion of the book via Google Hangouts. The number of video participants will be limited to 25, but any number of people can interact with the discussion by typing. This event will likely happen the second full week of March, and I will set the exact date and time in late-February.
  • We’ll usually have two full months to read the selected book, but since we’re starting in late January, we’ll be on a modified schedule for American Wolf.  From now until the group discussion in mid-March, you’ll have 6+/- weeks to read the book. In the future, count on 8+/- weeks per book. (We’re expecting our second child to arrive in late March, so I want to have one full reading-discussion cycle complete prior to her birth and resulting crazy schedule. Thanks for understanding.)


Mountain & Prairie Book Club – Goodreads Group


Not interested in wolves or American Wolf?  Then get started on the March-April Book Club selection: All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West by David Gessner.  The official announcement will be March 1, 2018.

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