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Hunt for the Shadow Wolf: The lost history of wolves in Britain and the myths and stories that surround them (Hardback)
  • Hunt for the Shadow Wolf: The lost history of wolves in Britain and the myths and stories that surround them (Hardback)
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Hunt for the Shadow Wolf: The lost history of wolves in Britain and the myths and stories that surround them (Hardback)

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£20.00
Hardback 256 Pages
Published: 07/03/2024
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Waterstones Says

Maverick rewilder and author of Bringing Back the Beaver unravels the myth and history of wolves in Britain in this hugely entertaining and unexpectedly moving volume.

Author of Bringing Back the Beaver and Britain’s favourite maverick rewilder Derek Gow embarks on an adventure to uncover the mythology, mystery and history of wolves in Britain.

Derek Gow’s dream is that one day we will see the return of the wolf to Britain. Wolf rewilding projects have been successfully implemented across the world – so what is holding us back in the UK?

Hunt for the Shadow Wolf is Derek’s quest to uncover the true nature of this magnificent creature. As Derek worked to reintroduce the beaver, he began to hear stories of the wolf, both real and mythical, and his fascination with it grew. He pieced together fragments of information, stories and artefacts to reveal a shadowy creature that first walked proud through these lands and then was hunted to extinction.

What Derek came to realise was that the underlying motives behind our hatred were actually rooted in power and profit. We turned the wolf into a savage beast and saw its extirpation as a civilising mission. But the wolf endured and Derek tells of his sightings through folklore and mythology, the records of grand estates and parish churches as well as wolf heads, both real and recreated.

With bitingly funny but also tender stories, Hunt for the Shadow Wolf makes clear why we must reconcile our relationship with this majestic animal before we can begin to bring it back to these lands.

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co
ISBN: 9781645020424
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

‘Terrific, life-lit moments come howling out of Hunt for the Shadow Wolf… Gow is never dull or worthy. Reading this book is like being in the company of a rambunctious descendant of Gerald Durrell.' The Telegraph

‘Beautifully crafted, fascinating and unbearably poignant; I totally loved this book.’ Isabella Tree, author of Wilding

‘For too long, wolves have been the stuff of nightmares. But, as Derek Gow shows with wit and passion, we should be dreaming of their return. Gow’s anecdotes will leave you howling – and his historical detective work to track down the shadow of the wolf is as gripping as any thriller. Derek Gow offers not just an elegy for the loss of Britain's wolves but also a clear-sighted case for their reintroduction to these shores.’ Guy Shrubsole, author of The Lost Rainforests of Britain

'A wild hunt of a book: savage, romantic yet as unflinching as a wolf’s gaze. Gow slyly asks us to consider which are the monsters – wolves or humans?' Zoe Gilbert, author of Mischief Acts

‘A fierce, essential interrogation of how nature suffers when we let fear dominate fact. This book bites and snarls with truth yet not without Derek's characteristic warmth and wit. I hope Hunt for the Shadow Wolf sparks the change and vision it so deserves.’  Sophie Pavelle, author of Forget Me Not

‘A dazzling romp through the turbulent history of wolves in Britain. Drawing on years of meticulous research and personal experience, Hunt for the Shadow Wolf bristles with trademark wit, passion and pugnacity. We have lived alongside wolves for far longer than we haven’t, and Gow reveals their ghosts lurking in our landscapes, our stories and our psyches, and makes it plain that a nation that kills its wolves is one that kills itself. More than anyone, Derek Gow is the man destined to undo that grievous act of self-harm.’ Lee Schofield, author of Wild Fell

‘This is my kind of hunt. Equipped with a fierce compassion for the natural world and an equally ferocious curiosity about everything he encounters, Gow ranges through field and forest and fairy tale in pursuit of the elusive last wolf in Britain. Along the way he corners some colourful prey: cave skulls, church carvings, folk legends, Bronze Age barrows, wolf-head trees, and the found poetry of old laws and chronicles. I found myself underlining something fascinating on every page.’ Christopher Hadley, author of The Road

‘With his trademark wit and erudition, Derek Gow masterfully weaves history, biology and myth in telling the epic story of the northern hemisphere’s most misunderstood mammal. Hunt for the Shadow Wolf is indispensable for any reader, on either side of the pond, interested in the saga of this iconic carnivore – or its future.’   Ben Goldfarb, author of Crossings and Eager

‘Hunt for the Shadow Wolf takes our long, complex, heartbreaking relationship with wolves and lays it all out so that we can see exactly what kind of people we were, what we did, and, given time, what we could put right. Using archaeology, DNA analysis, place names, physical evidence in the landscape, old tales, half-forgotten memories and historical accounts, our dealings with wolves are pieced together to present a picture of humanity’s abject failure to live with animals that challenges us to the core of our being. Like the man himself, this book is direct, unafraid and at times an uncomfortable read. Not for one sentence, though, is it boring or obvious. So take a deep breath, strap in and be prepared for a rollercoaster of a ride.' Mary Colwell, author of Curlew Moon and The Gathering Place

‘Hunt for the Shadow Wolf lays bare the paradox of Britain’s relationship with the wolf. Derek Gow shows, as only he can, the history of a persecuted and maligned species that once shared these isles with us. Told with wit and passion, the many stories of “last wolves” and their superhuman hunters, ferocious sheep and child-killers, and prices paid for wolves’ heads, are all contrasted with personal knowledge and scholarly research that exposes the lies behind the legends. Wolves are often simply the projection of all our fears: a shade that bears little resemblance to the living, breathing animal.’ Ross Barnett, author of The Missing Lynx

‘This piercingly beautiful, achingly sad yet fundamentally optimistic book is a triumph. One day we will have wolves back in Britain, and it will be in large part due to the work of this wonderful man.’ Ben Goldsmith, author of God is an Octopus

‘A chewy gem of a book. It holds more than information: it contains knowledge, even wisdom. Hunt for the Shadow Wolf is a roving beast all of itself.’ Martin Shaw, author of Smoke Hole

‘A wonderful book – a real tour de force.’ Danielle Schreve, professor of quaternary science, Royal Holloway University of London

‘Reading Hunt for the Shadow Wolf feels like gathering around a campfire on a chilly night and listening to a ghost story. But this time, the ghosts are just beyond the firelight, listening to their stories being told with accuracy for the first time. Gow has masterfully woven history, biology, social science and legend in a tale about the wolves of Britain.’ Kira Cassidy, research associate, Yellowstone Wolf Project

'Gow’s book resists the generic conventions of modern nature writing; rambunctious and vivid, at times it feels as uncontrollably wild as its subject.' Helen Macdonald for The New Statesman

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Josh (Waterstones Chichester)

“Wolf Folklore and History”

A succinct history of wolves in Britain and the events that led to their demise. Packed with both folklore and personal experience, Derek manages to craft a horrifying read that highlights the grim reality of how... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 5

“Dispelling the myth”

The big bad wolf. Keep the wolf from the door. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. Wolves are the subject of many familiar sayings that we use today.

I’ve never really thought of wolves as living naturally in Britain; rather... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 4

“Haunting”

Derek writes about the wolf, our relationship to wolves and all that we have lost through ridding the countryside of wolves so incredibly poignantly. I expected to love this book but I didn't expect to be moved... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 4

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