The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Happiness

The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Happiness - Mark Rowlands I'm vacillating between two and three stars on this one, but I think I'll end up with two. There were times, especially in the first half of the book, when Rowland's philosophical musings seemed insightful and original, and his anecdotes about his wolf were interesting and seemed to have a point. But the further along I got, the less focused the book felt. More importantly, I quickly tired of hearing about how crappy "simians" (apes and people) are compared to wolves. Rowland makes valid points, but avoids -- more and more conspicuously -- taking note of almost anything good about humanity. Later in the book, he admits to being a "misanthrope," so I guess that explains the antipathy, but it also explains what is wrong with the book: all of his thinking boils down to a distaste for people, coupled (sometimes rather awkwardly) with an almost blind adoration for wolves (and a sort of condescending indulgence of dogs). That's his prerogative, but a book can only be so good when that's all it has to go on. By the end of this one, it seems pretty clear that Rowland has realized he doesn't have much of a point to make, and the writing gets more and more repetitive as he attempts to delay the ending long enough to find one.

So, for people who love wolves and/or dislike humans, it probably serves well as a sort of affirmation of the reader's feelings. For anyone interested in the "Philosopher" part of the title, I think you are bound for disappointment.