The Man Who Lives with Wolves

The Man Who Lives with Wolves

4.3 9
by Shaun Ellis, Penny Junor

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What would compel a man to place himself in constant danger in order to become a member of a wolf pack? To eat with them, putting his head into a carcass alongside the wolves' gnashing teeth? To play, hunt, and spar with them, suffering bruises and bites? To learn their language so his howl is indistinguishable from theirs? To give up a normal life of relationships…  See more details below


What would compel a man to place himself in constant danger in order to become a member of a wolf pack? To eat with them, putting his head into a carcass alongside the wolves' gnashing teeth? To play, hunt, and spar with them, suffering bruises and bites? To learn their language so his howl is indistinguishable from theirs? To give up a normal life of relationships and family so that he can devote himself completely to the protection of these wild animals?

In The Man Who Lives with Wolves, Shaun Ellis reveals how his life irrevocably changed the first time he set eyes on a wolf. In exhilarating prose, he takes us from his upbringing in the wilds of Norfolk, England, to his survival training with British Army Special Forces to the Nez Percé Indian lands in Idaho, where he first ran with a wolf pack for nearly two years.

Offering an extraordinary look into the lives of these threatened, misunderstood creatures, Ellis shares how he ate raw kill–and little else; washed rarely, and only in plain water; learned to bury his face into the carcasses of prey–and, when necessary, to defend his share of the kill; communicated with the pack by his howls and body language, which over time became seemingly identical to theirs; and observed from this unique vantage point how wolves give birth to and raise their young, and enforce order among the pack.

After years of living in the wild, Shaun Ellis was barely able to recognize the feral face that stared back at him from the mirror. And in The Man Who Lives with Wolves, we discover the life of a rare and fascinating man who abandoned civilization but never lost touch with his humanity.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

To call Shaun Ellis an animal researcher is a bit like characterizing Gandhi as a political theorist. Ellis's research is nothing less than full immersion: He has lived among wolves as a member of the pack, playing, hunting, and fighting roughhouse; ripping carcasses bare of meat; sleeping in their midst. In The Man Who Lives with Wolves, animal researcher extraordinaire Ellis tells his story.
Publishers Weekly
Ellis, the self-trained wolf behaviorist featured on TV's Living with the Wolfman, has spent years living, literally, with wolves in the U.S. and England: eating what they do (raw meat), fitting into their pack, meeting challenges from other pack-members, and more. Ellis describes in detail (some repetitive) the astonishing rigors of living with wolves; readers might ask why one would stick with the pack after sustaining bites, knockout blows, and other injuries, but Ellis maintains that fulfilling his "overwhelming need to find out the truth and do whatever I could to help and stand up for these creatures" is reward enough. Ellis's prose is informal and conversational, and his experiences are highly illuminating regarding animals classically met with fear and hatred (an ancient reaction, Ellis notes, rooted in humankind's shift from a hunter-gatherer society to a farming society). Ellis also shares his goals, how they've evolved over years of study, and the challenges of scientists who disapprove of his methods; among well-earned observations of the natural world, Ellis also includes stories from his own life and family, as well useful information for dog owners.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
The wolfman reveals his human side. Living with the Wolfman star Ellis teams with veteran ghostwriter Junor (My Life, My Way, 2009, etc.) to share his life story. Born in a remote village on England's northeastern coast, Ellis lived most of his youth with his farming grandparents, from whom he learned essential values about order in the animal kingdom. Two early deaths proved formative to Ellis's ethic that more civilized behavior is often found in the forest: that of the central figure in his life, his grandfather, when the author was 13, and the trapping of a fox kit he had studied for months. "Looking back," writes the author, "there is no doubt that the shock of seeing that magnificent young fox-my friend-hanging from that tree left me with a feeling of revulsion for my own kind and a desire to distance myself from the human race." This tension of being caught between worlds permeates much of the book, which centers on the many empirical conclusions about wolf behavior that he drew from months of living with them in the wilds of Idaho, Poland and England. The author's descriptions of his firsthand experiences-a pack's acceptance of him as a lower member; one wolf's sensitivity that forged bonds with an emotionally challenged boy otherwise unable to connect with humans-are more engaging than the polemical lectures on ecology and conservation. "Everything has a place in this world," writes Ellis, "and we can't be naive enough to think we can safeguard ourselves if we let other species fail."Occasionally heavy handed, but offers a unique perspective on the intersection of man and wild.

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Meet the Author

SHAUN ELLIS is the founder of the Shaun Ellis Wolf Pack Foundation, a nonprofit organization based at Combe Martin Wildlife Park in North Devon, England, dedicated to helping wolves worldwide. He works with three captive packs at the park, where he gives regular talks and demonstrations to the public. He is the star of the Animal Planet show Living with the Wolfman and the National Geographic documentary A Man Among Wolves.

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Man Who Lives with Wolves 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
jake-s--6th-period-englsh More than 1 year ago
The story of a man who came to the wolves basically puting his life on the line to be with them. The story of the pack is very touching and can very inspiring. He puts his problems in real life behind him and decides to visit a wolf pack for research and to go get away from it all. The story can relate to some of the things that happens with humans and the perspective of wolves. It shows how the wolf is not an evil creature and how people don't understand animals. His life is reflected and how he was raised is how he acts around the wolfs. He goes against all odds to be with these wolves. Very good book strongly recomened
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I only bought this because Jodi Piccoult recommended after her Lone Wolf book came out. It was a great book that offered more info about wolves and their nature versus the presumed assumption that wolves are bad! The hierarchy of wolf packs was interesting also! Could u imagine living in the wild of Idaho for years with a wolf pack?!
JessLucy More than 1 year ago
A fascinating true-life account of one man's adventures living with captive and non-captive wolves. The author's interactions with the wolves was so touching and intriguing; I couldn't put this book down! I do wish he had spent a little less time discussing his personal life issues but I can see how it relates somewhat to his story. I loved learning about each indivual wolf and their place within the pack. The fact that a group of wild animals could befriend and take in a being from a separate species just illistrates how amazing these creatures really are! The photographs within are also absolutely wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing story. Keeps you wanting to read more and more. Highly encourage anyone with a passion for wolves this is a must read!
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