It's not the O.J. trial, but for environmentalists, wolf recovery in Idaho and Yellowstone Park warrants almost as much press. Now come the books. In Wolf Wars, Hank Fischer tells the sometimes compelling, other times snoozy, inside scoop on two decades of political maneuvering that led to the release of the wolves last winter. As an advisor to the wolf recovery team and the one who suggested a private fund to compensate ranchers for livestock losses to wolves, Fischer writes what he knows. It's an inspiring lesson in how to turn wild vision into political reality. While Fischer focuses on the past 20 years, Rick McIntyre digs further into the past in War Against the Wolf. McIntyre splices historical documents into modern essays documenting America's change of heart toward wolves from 1630 to 1995. The documents, such as one by President Theodore Roosevelt calling the wolf "the beast of waste and desolation," help explain how Americans shifted from wanting every last wolf dead to the present blend of myth, awe and hatred. In The Company of Wolves, Peter Steinhart mixes more biology into the equation. By interviewing dozens of people whose lives are affected by wolves - ranchers near Yellowstone, the alpha biologist David Mech, and an Indian trapper, for example "Steinhart explores what we know about how wolves act in the wild and how we fill in the gaps with what we admire and fear about our own wildness.
Wolf Wars. Falcon Press Publishing Co. Inc., PO Box 1718, Helena, MT 59624. 183 pages, 1995. $12.95.
War Against the Wolf. Voyageur Press Inc., P.O. Box 338, 123 N. Second St., Stillwater, MN 55082. 487 pages, 1995. $24.95.
The Company of Wolves. Alfred P. Knopf, 201 E. 50th Street, New York, NY 10022. 384 pages, 1995. $25.
* Elizabeth Manning