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Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

Never Cry Wolf (original 1963; edition 1983)

by Farley Mowat

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1,783423,936 (4.09)1 / 196
Title:Never Cry Wolf
Authors:Farley Mowat
Info:Bantam USA (1983), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Natural History, Wolves, 1010CC

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Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat (1963)


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English (40)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
I was excited to see this classic on NetGalley, first published in 1963 but now available as an ebook. I hadn’t read anything by Farley Mowat before, and I could immediately see, when I began reading “Never Cry Wolf,” that one reason he is celebrated is the rich vocabulary and story-telling he entertained with. I found him reminiscent of Bill Bryson, but even more over-the-top. He seemed to almost go out of his way to never use the same word more than necessary, for full expressiveness, and has a slightly more subtle satire. Comparisons can also be made with Edward Abbey in “Desert Solitaire”: both were alone in a barren place, becoming part of the landscape, working for government agencies, with their own interpretations of meeting their requirements.

After reading “Future Arctic,” it was nice to continue in the same setting, although Mowat had said he was in the subarctic. At least at the end of the book he was in the taiga, before finishing up his research. A jalopy of a plane dumped him and his comical load of supplies in the middle of nowhere (well, on a frozen lake in the middle of nowhere), and luckily meets a man, Mike, who is half-Inuit, half-white, who also lets him stay in his cabin. Mike leaves with his team of Huskies, but returns with his cousin Ootek, who happens to be one of the most knowledgeable people on wolves, and gets Mowat out of a few predicaments.

The author was sent there to make observations, and he is determined to find proof, to repeat his observations when possible and to put things beyond doubt when possible. Misconceptions about wolves were what he made his reason research, even if it wasn’t exactly outlined by his employer. He sets up an observation tent near Mike’s cabin, from where he was able to study a wolf family by telescope. He names the wolves in his mind (George, Angeline, Uncle Albert, and four pups) but assigns more objective identifiers for science. Their surroundings can be pictured with a couple of interesting words, the muskeg type of terrain, and the esker, a sandy dried-up riverbed, next to which the wolves denned. From both this book and “Future Arctic” I was surprised to read about the numbers of mosquitoes and other flies, and how they can severely harass the mammals there.

Parasitization is also a problem for the caribou, which have an important relationship with wolves. As in Ootek’s origin story, the wolves do indeed go after the sick or old caribou. They chase the groups to “test” for such targets, and in return the caribou, rather than getting picked off, get a workout and stay healthy. Ootek also shares some fascinating notes on wolves’ fishing methods.

Mowat, to better understand his study species, adopts some of their habits, like napping and marking his own territory, which the wolves soon overwrite. The most humorous incident, to me, was when after making note of the wolves’ diet (then out of range of the caribou migration) he offers his favored recipe for creamed mice. I wonder if he washed it down with any wolf-juice (Canadian beer with grain alcohol or something equally as strong). This book is, I am currently concluding, nonfiction, though it reads like a novel. Each chapter is its own exciting story, and he often builds up a scenario before he realizes what’s really going on. His language is bold, and he offers literary proof to make his case. It is clear that he has a deep respect for the wolves, and the world is a better place for learning from his writings.

Note: this e-book was provided through Net Galley. For more reviews, follow my blog at http://matt-stats.blogspot.com/ ( )
  MattCembrola | May 5, 2016 |
Unappealing. Seemed to plunge into 70's hippie philosophy with alacrity. Wolves are great, but people philosophizing... ( )
  themulhern | Apr 16, 2016 |
This delightful memoir is based on two summers and a winter that Farley Mowat spent in the subarctic regions of southern Keewatin Territory and northern Manitoba as a biologist studying wolves and caribou. Sent there by the Canadian government to, as he describes it, confirm the hateful myths then firmly held about wolves, Mowat instead learned about the symbiotic relationship between wolves and caribou and the terrible toll being wrought on both populations by white man's intrusion into the ecosystem. With humor and respect, Mowat tells the story of one family of wolves. Through this storytelling, he captures the vast beauty of the region, the majesty of both the wolves and the caribou on which they depend (although he illuminates the fact that the wolves primarily eat mice when such are plentiful), and the bemused innocence of the local natives as they worked to understand this white man's behavior. I chuckled out loud more than once and finished this quick read with a resounding sense of satisfaction. Four happy stars. ( )
3 vote EBT1002 | Apr 3, 2016 |
“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be...”

Mowat, a naturalist/biologist is given an assignment: spend the summer in the subarctic and study wolf behavior, particularly, their feeding habits. Mowat discovers one wolf family and follows them closely, for several months. It is an eye-opening experience, giving him a deeper understanding and compassion for this misunderstood animal.

This is a terrific read. Funny and adventurous. I have heard much of it is fictionalized, but as a story, it really resounds. Surprisingly, it was written, about 50 years ago but still remains fresh and entertaining. ( )
1 vote msf59 | Mar 20, 2016 |
Never Cry Wolf is a very entertaining story of about wolves. Farley Mowat, the author, tells of how he spent the better part of a year living in the arctic tundra studying wolves and their habitat for the Canadian government. This was during the late 1940’s and in those days, wolves were still considered one of man’s greatest enemies.

Although slightly dated, for example Mowat refers to the indigenous people as Eskimos, I found this a fun read. His descriptions of wolfish life are interesting and observant. This book, originally published in the early 1960’s helped to stir an interest in the preservation of these fascinating animals, who were taken almost to the brink of extinction before we overcame the myths and realized these creatures deserved their place in the food chain and were not a threat to mankind at all.

Never Cry Wolf is a fine example of an adventure book that promotes the environment and wildlife preservation. I believe it’s light-hearted humorous approach makes it appealing to people of all ages and this is one of the reasons that it is still used in schools today. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Mar 6, 2016 |
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It is a long way in time and space from the bathroom of my Grandmother Mowat's house in Oakville, Ontario, to the bottom of a wolf den in the Barren Lands of central Keewatin, and I have no intention of retracing the entire road which lies between.
The caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf who keeps the caribou strong.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316881791, Paperback)

More than a half-century ago the Canadian Wildlife Service assigned the naturalist Farley Mowat to investigate why wolves were killing arctic caribou. Mowat's account of the summer he lived in the frozen tundra alone-studying the wolf population and developing a deep affection for the wolves (who were of no threat to caribou or man) and for a friendly Inuit tribe known as the Ihalmiut ("People of the Deer")-is a work that has become cherished by generations of readers, an indelible record of the myths and magic of wild wolves.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:34 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A biologist's official mission to study wolves turns up many unusual facts about their pattern of living.

(summary from another edition)

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