This non-fiction work is subtitled ‘A History of the Werewolf’.
Douglas’ researches range far and wide, covering such subjects as ancient cave-paintings, Greek mythology, Celtic sagas, Christian culture, modern psychiatry, and the cinema, in Europe, India, the Cameroons and beyond.
There were stories of beneficent werewolves, but they were swept away by the hegemony of the church and witch-hunters in the Middle Ages, to be replaced by the familiar monstrous creatures that signify disorder and deviance.
This is a fascinating, serious and diligent study of the stuff of nightmares. Recommended.
Note: The shapeshifter archetype beloved of shamanism not only encompasses wolves, but also bears, snakes, cats, birds, buffalo, deer and dragons, among others. See Deerdancer by Michele Jamal (1995).