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Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

Never Cry Wolf (original 1963; edition 1983)

by Farley Mowat

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1,695324,207 (4.1)1 / 159
Title:Never Cry Wolf
Authors:Farley Mowat
Info:Bantam USA (1983), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Natural History, Wolves, 1010CC

Work details

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat (1963)


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English (30)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Never Cry Wolf was a "must read" book in the 1970s, and I can't think of a person I knew who would admit not having read it. This new edition will not have the same broad reach or cultural importance, but a reader coming to it in 2015 should know that it is on many people's "Great Books" list, and that Farley Mowat (I have always loved that name.), primarily with Never Cry Wolf, helped shape the environmental movement (or perhaps "movements") that we know today.

Mr. Mowat's work is controversial because it is fictionalized. Many of his books, including Never Cry Wolf, are like films "based on a true story." Estimating the degree of fictionalization depends a bit on the politics of the critic and the Wikipedia article on NCW outlines the controversy. More detailed discussion of Mowat's background story can be found with a quick web search that will also bring up many obituaries and memorial tributes. Mowat was vocal and pugnacious about his ideas. He was denied entry to the USA in 1985, purportedly for his leftist leanings. He tells that story in the 1986 "My Discovery of America," now out of print.

Never Cry Wolf became so important in part because it is so very readable. Laugh out loud funny in places, it is warmly appealing to even the youngest reader. It is the kind of gift to give a child to induce book addiction. Anyone with any love of nature will like it, in part because it is so exotic.

Never Cry Wolf is set in a world we can't remember and can hardly imagine, one where naturalists retained direct methodological links with 19th century luminaries. A world where it is normal for naturalists and explorers (and, latterly, Peace Corps volunteers) to revel in fieldwork that kept them out of sight for months and years at a time. Today communication is too easy and our fear of the world is out of control. Grant-making agencies, and the organizations they fund, impose strict fieldwork safety guidelines, and Peace Corps has been sued into becoming a nanny agency tasked with reporting every time a Volunteer burps. It is nearly impossible to imagine naturalists and anthropologists who preferred, and were able to pull off, an uninterrupted scientific life.

This new edition of Never Cry Wolf includes a nice little Farley Mowat biography with photos that makes it even more appealing as a gift for a young person you are trying to subvert. It ignores the controversy surrounding the book and I think this is a bad choice by the publisher.

I received a review copy of Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat (Open Road) through NetGalley.com. ( )
  Dokfintong | Aug 21, 2015 |
I read this long time ago - not too long after the movie, I think. I do recall I liked it. Probably should read it again. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Bleh. One of the most uninteresting and horribly written book I've read in a while.

Want proof? It took me nearly a month to read this book.

Not only that, but its filled with blatant lies about wolves.

Example: According to this garbagebook, apparently wolves live off of mice. Coming from someone who knows little regarding wolves prior to reading this novel, I know for a fact that wolves do NOT only eat mice. What a ridiculous lie.

All in all, this book was a waste of my time. I appreciate that it tried to make people less afraid of wolves, but it sadly failed in that. ( )
  Summer_Missfictional | May 23, 2014 |
A very entertaining (and slightly frightening) look at how Canadian bureaucracy sends Farley as a young biologist off into the true northern wilderness to spend perhaps one to two years alone studying wolves. From the supplies they send with him you know they expect him to report that wolves are bad bad bad and you should kill kill kill them all so the hunters can have their caribou. Farley expects to find what he has been told he will find, the "Big Bad Wolf." Instead, very quickly, he finds something different.

Farley's time there is transformative. You could say he goes native a bit. His observations, research and studies were ground breaking.

This is absolutely a book worth reading 50 years after it first came out. ( )
1 vote RBeffa | May 14, 2014 |
Never Cry Wolf Review (Review)
“Never Cry Wolf” is about Farley Mowat and his love for biology. Farley Mowat begins an interest in biology when he is as young as five years old, when he sees two catfish at his grandmother’s pond. As he grows older he is educated in biology and fulfills his dream of being a biologist. He is then called up by the Canadian Wildlife Service to investigate the problem for decreasing caribou population. The wildlife service blames this on the artic wolves. Mowat is sent to the Barren Lands where he finds out the real problem. He discovers the hunters are killing the caribou and soon realizes how much different the wolves really are.
“Never Cry Wolf” is more than just a biologist project. The book shows the true side of artic wolves. The book shows their behavior and how they live their lives in the Barren Lands. The hunters were the true antagonists of the decrease in deer population. Wolves were the public expectation of the problem. This shows that people are too quick to judge someone or something by its looks and by what others say about it. This novel is trying to show the external and internal purpose. The external purpose shows that wolves are not evil killing animals. The internal purpose shows that we can’t assume anything about a person, place, thing, or idea.
The biggest quote that stuck out for me was, “We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be-the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer- which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourselves.” This quote is the statement the book is trying to get across. That are perception on the wolf just shows how mistaken and evil we can be.
I have many likes about the book. I like how this book is written in a way that not just a biologist can read it, but all people can relate to his obstacles. His humor shown in the book makes it entertaining and keeps you interested. I also liked the main storyline of the novel. I liked the adventure from being a little kid and growing up to be a biologist, studying wolves in the Barren Lands of Canada. I do not have any dislikes; the only thing I was upset about was the hunters in the novel killing the caribou.
I recommend this book to all people interested in biology, wolves, and wildlife. This book is also good for people who are looking for a good read. The book is humorous, adventurous, and thrilling. This book is suited for kids in middle school and all the way up to senior citizens. I enjoyed this book and I know you will too! ( )
2 vote dane31 | Apr 16, 2014 |
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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)

» see all 4 descriptions

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