Never Cry Wolf

By Farley Mowat,

Book cover of Never Cry Wolf

Book description

Maxim Gorky, born Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov in 1868 to the low stratum of Russian society, rose to prominence early in life as a writer and publicist. Gorky, who did not have a formal education, became famous in his country and abroad. Writing could not satisfy the rebellious Gorky who soon…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Never Cry Wolf as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Farley Mowat once declared: “I never let facts get in the way of a good story.” I have read Never Cry Wolf as fiction many times, even though its author pretended it was factual. As a writer interested in Canada’s north, Mowat’s universe is an obvious choice for me. The inclusion of Inuit characters is also quite appealing. In this book, a naturalist studies Arctic wolves in a makeshift camp in northern Manitoba and deals with the ridiculous expectations of the bureaucrats who sent him out there to fend for himself. He discovers that contrary to public opinion, wolves are…

Assigned by the Canadian government to study the wolves presumed to be decimating northern Manitoba’s caribou herds, the young biologist spends a year learning (with the help of two Eskimo hunters) that the greatest predator on the planet is two-legged. Criticized for his admission that he “never let the facts get in the way of the truth,” Mowatt embellishes his tale with wry humor, as when he shares his recipe for mouse soufflé: “Skin and gut the mice, but do not remove the heads …” The details, factual or not, all serve the message: “The wolf never kills for…

Never Cry Wolf is a quick read, peppered with dry wit and an entertaining, self-deprecating point of view. In describing his own experience, Farley Mowat demonstrates how humans tend to misjudge wolves based on deeply ingrained myths and misinformation. As the story unfolds, he systematically chips away at those myths. His observations of wolf behavior were not unlike ours, and his descriptions of the way in which wolves test prey while hunting were particularly informative. We can relate very well to the dramatically different outlook that evolves after spending a significant amount of time observing and getting to know specific…

I first was hooked on books by Farley Mowat as a child with his The Dog who Wouldn’t Be about his adventures with his beloved pet, Mutt. Later, as an adult, I would read the most famous book by this author, and it affected me deeply. The book is a portrait of a scientist whose findings turn him into an activist on behalf of the animals he studied. Though it was published as a factual account, Never Cry Wolf was later decried by some critics as fiction. Yet, even if he departed from the facts on the ground, Farley Mowat’s…

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