ROMEO: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf

Rome: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf

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Romeo is the story of a playful and loving wolf that changed the community of Juneau, Alaska, forever. His story is a unique one that linked people once again to the wilderness that surrounds them every day.

  • Softcover, 7 x 10.5 inches with 4.5 in flaps
  • 144 pages, perfect bound, sewn binding
  • Printed in Canada
  • ISBN 978-1-59373-088-8

Romeo

by John Hyde

Romeo: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf is about a single black wolf that changed a community forever. Romeo had a playful and loving soul that residents of Juneau, Alaska, simply could not ignore, and many adopted him as part of their community. Orphaned and alone, Romeo chose his territory below the Mendenhall Glacier close to the town of Juneau, and made his winter home in the Upper Valley and along the shorelines of the nearby Lakes where he played with his cousinsthe dogs that accompanied their owners as they snow-shoed and skied throughout his territory every winter.

For John Hyde, Romeo was more than a friend, and much much more than the lone wolf he photographed every winter for nearly a decade along the lake shores, on the flanks of Mount McGinnis, and on the many trails that lead up and down this mountainous and stunningly beautiful area of Alaska. He writes in his Preface to the book:

The first time I met Romeo face to face, close enough that we could stare into each other’s eyes, I felt I was sitting on the edge of two worlds: one so wild and free I might never be able to comprehend its true significance, the other civilized, which I was driven to escape from on a regular basis.

As he recounts Romeo’s life from a tragic and violent beginning through to its equally tragic end at the hands of humans for whom he posed no threat, the author writes in the tradition of Aldo Leopold and seeks to describe the kind of redemption and hope that Romeo provided us with as an example of how we humans might reconsider the baleful and destructive nature of our attitudes toward our wild fellow creatures and the wilderness that is our heritage too.

Romeo shared our world to our delight and without malice. We, on the other hand, are often too busy thoughtlessly destroying wilderness habitats in Alaska and elsewhere. Romeo’s life, the life of a wild carnivore, as it is described in this book in both clear and scientific language, was unique. He lived on the edge of the wilderness and of our so-called civilization, where the two often clashed both in benign and more aggressive ways. When they did, it was often his gentle behavior that illuminated our human ignorance and latent aggression toward his or any other wild species.

Romeo: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf is also the book of a remarkable photographer whose portraits of the wild and Romeo, in particular, are as unique as the subject himself. The book is a tribute to an animal whose life came to be treasured by those who knew him and whose life now stands as a challenge to us all in our struggle for a better and more sustainable planet.

Reviews

Romeo: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf is not about wolves, it is the nearest thing to being a wolf that could be hoped for. Romeo, the principle character, chose to build a bridge between his kind and ours and succeeded so well that, though it cost him his life, he for ever banished the mythical wolf created by mankind and showed us the true nature of one of the most admirable and interesting living beings on our planet. . . . I envy John Hyde as I have never envied another human being.”

FARLEY MOWAT, author of Never Cry Wolf

“There’s a sharp division in the way we view wolves—a division fueled far more by mythology and imagination than by fact. Wolves shouldn’t and can’t fit neatly into any negative or positive stereotype. Their niche in any ecosystem is not so one dimensional. We do wolves a disservice when we squeeze them into simplistic scripts and, ultimately, we diminish our appreciation of all wild things if we fall prey to a simplistic wolf myth. Our fear or love of wolves gets in the way of awe and, if wolves can’t inspire awe, what wild creature can?”

KIM ELTON, Director of Alaska Affairs,
U.S. Department of the Interior

“Few humans are lucky enough to spend time with a wild wolf. I am one. My moment in time with Romeo was inspirational—a lifetime experience to cherish forever.”

ROBIN SILVER, M.D., Center for Biological Diversity

“John Hyde in his beautiful tribute to Romeo, a lone dark-haired wolf, creates a unique and endearing story. This chronicle of a wolf in the midst of two worlds inspires respect for all wolves and their rightful place in nature. This book will delight a broad audience and that’s good for all free-living animals, and good for the human spirit.”

PRISCILLA FERAL, President, Friends of Animals

About the Author

John Hyde

John Hyde

JOHN HYDE is a photographer, cinematographer, and artist who lives in Juneau, Alaska. His work has appeared in countless magazines and many films.

Alaskan wolf