Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West

Predatory Bureaucracy shines a bright light on the dark tale of the federal governments’ war against the wolf. 

This is not a pretty chapter in the history of the West. The feds, teamed up with ranching and set out to wipe a species off the map. They wanted to sanitize the landscape of a predator they felt threatened the livestock industries’ profits. It was a calculated move that’s shaped Western politics for more than a century. 

With the hunts on in Idaho and Montana, this epic work is a must read. Why are we again “managing wolves”? And for whom? Are wolves headed down that grim path once more?

Reviews of Predatory Bureaucracy:

“In Predatory Bureaucracy Michael Robinson paints a vivid picture of the lives of some of the last wolves to roam in the West and of the men who planned and carried out their killings, and tells the remarkable story of passage of the Endangered Species Act and subsequent wolf reintroductions in the face of continuing fierce opposition. Through exhaustive review of thousands of personal letters, policy documents and other obscure records, Robinson chronicles the birth, growth, and cultural maturation of an agency whose primary mission is the extermination of “bad” animals at the behest of the agricultural industry—a case study of the dark side of biopolitics. He documents the Machiavellian tactics used by powerful individuals to federalize the “service” of killing predators and other “harmful” animals. Robinson tells this important story in a compulsively readable manner. Predatory Bureaucracy should be read by all who care about wildlife conservation, especially government biologists.”
– David R. Parsons – former Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


“The wolf holds center stage in Michael Robinson’s extraordinary book, Predatory Bureaucracy, but his subject is something even more troubling than the wolf’s near extinction — American attempts to tinker with the machinery of nature, and the unkillable government office that came up with one bright idea after another for controlling predators, while ignoring the role of predators in controlling “pests” and “varmints” like mice and gophers. In Robinson’s hundred-year history of federal failure to decide what it wants we can see the great American schizophrenia writ plain — love of wilderness, fear of the wild, with wolves trapped in the middle.”
– Thomas Powers, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1971


“The root problem in the relationship between humans and Nature is our pathological drive to domesticate the land and to destroy those wild animals that do not accept our overlordship. Michael Robinson’s thorough history of our war against the wolf in the West is an insightful, eloquent, humble, and much needed study of that sickness. Predatory Bureaucracy is deep and wise.”
– Dave Foreman, president of The Rewildling Institute.

Posted in: Wolf wars  

Tags: gray wolf, wolf intolerance, wolves or livestock, extermination

Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 1:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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