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Never Cry Wolf

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,154 Ratings  ·  715 Reviews
More than a half-century ago 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) -- is today celebrated as a classic of nature writing, at once a tale of rem ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published September 13th 2001 by Back Bay Books (first published 1963)
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Gord Beacock At the time Farley Mowat was more of a fiction writer (and still is a storyteller). As I understand it, with no confirmation, this is a partly…moreAt the time Farley Mowat was more of a fiction writer (and still is a storyteller). As I understand it, with no confirmation, this is a partly fictionalized account of his experiences, research from other sources etc. It is probably at least as factual, or more so, than the anecdotes of James Herriot. I would trust his data on the wolves more than the experiences studying them.(less)
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David Hughes
Apr 19, 2008 David Hughes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a book I both love and hate. I love it because I love wolves and this is a well-written, entertaining story about wolves. I hate it's made up from start to finish, yet the tagline on the cover says, "The incredible true story of life among Arctic wolves."

Let's get one thing straight: Never Cry Wolf is fiction. Made up. Fabricated. And quite a lot of it is, at least in terms of factual accuracy, horseshit. Mowat knew a lot about life in the Arctic, but he didn't know much about wolves.

Jun 09, 2016 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
“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 ourself.”
― Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf


One of those books that if fun to review because my feelings about it change depending on how I look at it. As a pure book of science reporting/writing, it is probably a noble failure. As a influential environmental book, it is probably a wi
Jul 05, 2011 Greer rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-books
I picked this up due to fond memories of viewing the 1983 movie in biology class. In this 1963 book, naturalist Farley Mowat chronicles his experiences observing wolves in the Canadian barrenlands 1948-49. I have mixed feelings about the book. On the plus side: it presented a positive image of wolves and stirred interest in their preservation. However, as a scientist I'm put off by the embellishments Mowat throws in both to make the story more entertaining and to sway the reader toward his point ...more
Mar 13, 2009 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2non-fiction, 1paper
Crazy, but absolutely amazing. Mowat moves in next to a pack of wolves & observes them. His description of 'marking' his territory (with the help of several pots of tea) & how the alpha male managed the same feat with a single pass, showing far better control, is both funny & exhilarating. He's cut off a part of their path as his territory, sits there weaponless & participates with them at their level. That pretty much describes the book. It's fascinating.
Oct 26, 2012 Jillyn rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jillyn by: Chris
Shelves: given-away
Written in the sixties, this book follows the year that naturalist Farley Mowat lived among the wolves. Hired to observe these wolves up in Canada to see why they were killing caribou, Mowat uses humor, observation, and a bit of personification to narrate his observations of wolf behavior and what he learned from his time living in the wild.


I had to read this for my English class this semester. It followed about four other books on natural systems that I did not care for at all, and I'm happy
Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf is a classic of environmental, wildlife and adventure literature -- beautifully written, funny and moving all the way to its gorgeous final pages, which, I admit, made me cry.

A marvelous film of the same title was made from this book in 1983, which I would also highly recommend, if you've never seen it. Of course, it's no substitute for this book, but is excellent in its own right.

The book starts out as a sort of MASH-like satire on the nonsensical bureaucracies of
Mar 20, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
“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 h
Nov 10, 2013 Martha☀ rated it liked it
Recommended to Martha☀ by: Bound Together
In this fictionalized account of Farley Mowat's summer time sojourn to the Arctic in the late 1940s, the harmful myths about wolves are broken and light is shed on their playful, family-oriented nature. At that time, the wolf reputation as an insatiable killer was maintained by trappers who collected a bounty for every wolf hide they produced. There was no scientific research on wolves until Mowat set out specifically to study them.
His accounts of the Wolf House Bay pack are eye-opening to him,
Jenn Noto
Jan 15, 2014 Jenn Noto rated it it was amazing
I had come across this book by chance at the bookstore I work at, and with wolves being my favorite animal (particularly arctic wolves as in the book) I just had to at least read the synopsis on the back of the book. I normally never read nonfiction books, simply because I'm not interested in that type of reading. However, when I saw how similar Farley Mowat's views on wolves are to mine, it immediately caught my attention.

So many people in the world view wolves as vicious killers and nothing m
I have read this book before, I loved it then and I love it now.
I didn't grow up around hunting or around wolves so this book had a profound impact on the way I viewed both. I've always had a love of animals and nature so I was a natural to find this book inspiring, wonderful and incredibly sad. For a book I haven't read in about 30 years I had remarkable recall of most of the scenes. That is probably because of the sense of humor and the pathos with which Farley Mowat writes, it is a beautiful
Aug 11, 2016 Allison rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, thank God it's over.

I knew this book would be pro-wolves. I'd read that this was fiction mixed with experience. I knew a lot of the anthropomorphism was deeply ingrained in the story, and I was okay with that, pleased to go in with a grain of salt firmly in hand.

What I didn't know is that Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf would be so pro-Farley-Mowat.

I wasn't prepared for the ego, for the use of the vehicle of literature (and wolves) to so firmly slap its author on the back, over and over and
Jan 18, 2016 Franky rated it really liked it
Never Cry Wolf is Farley Mowat’s personal account of his observation of wolves in subarctic north Canada. As a biologist working for the government, he is called on to discover the mystery of how the population of caribou is decreasing dramatically. The thought is that wolves are largely responsible. Mowat heads out on a small plane into the coldest reaches of Canada to find out if the wolves are the ones responsible.

I liked Mowat’s writing style and tone throughout, just how he presents himsel
May 15, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Gerald Durrell fans
Shelves: canada, audio
I read a lot of Farley in middle school and loved him; little bits of this from an early reading have stayed with me for 30 years, and there's a warm feeling in revisiting them. No one does couthy quite like a Canadian and he is not immune; this is really quite sentimental and anthropomorphic, but consciously so, and as he is famously so enthusiastic and entertaining about all things wild, I forgive him.

Also, very funny - he's a great storyteller and nicely dry (in that other, rarer, Canadian sp
Brings back the dreams I had when I was still studying biology - definitely would have wanted to follow in the tracks of my loony loon-specialist animal behaviorist prof.

At first I wondered if I was going to like the voice of the writer as it seemed a bit too light and ignorant and laughing, but it left room for his honesty as his adventure continued, and for him to reveal his foolishness-es in interpreting the wolves and in cross-cultural interactions with the people he encountered as well.

Feb 20, 2008 Joe rated it really liked it
I was given this book as a gift from one of my coworkers, and because of his powerhouse personality, was actually a little apprehensive to read it. In fact, it sat idly on my bookshelf for nearly 4 months before I dusted it off and gave it a try. While the book did get off to a slow start, a quite non impressive introduction to the world in which the author would inhabit for nearly 2 years, the story was all of a sudden kick-started for me with the introduction of the wolf family. George, Angeli ...more
William Galaini
May 16, 2013 William Galaini rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
The feelings that surround this book are complicated, but the book itself is not. This is a charming read that is sharply written, well engaging, and joyful. The writer clearly loves his subject and his idealism is encountered constantly without feeling heavy handed or naive.

Each wolf in this story is a distinct character and the narrator presents each challenge playfully without diminishing the danger present. The majesty of the hunt is also detailed and revered with colorful language without b
[Name Redacted]
While I love wolves and appreciate Mowat's passion on their behalf, there's something off-putting about his writing style. I'm not sure if it's the way he constructs the narrative (so that he himself is the star rather than the wolves) or his tone (which I felt, even at the age of 11, was rather smug and self-satisfied), but I found myself profoundly irritated throughout. It turns out he has a habit of "never let[ting] the facts get in the way of the truth" and that the events he recounts in the ...more
Linda Ostrom
This is still one of the best books I have read. It does say that it is "inspired" by a true story and since I knew a lot of Mr. Mowat's history (him living quite near me), I know that all the information regarding the wolves is true.

The information gathered by him was so important and I think that even today most countries and scientists don't realize how important it actually was/is. Wolves were wiped out by blood thirst in the US and when the government discovered the imbalance it created, th
Willem van den Oever
Aug 17, 2016 Willem van den Oever rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Willem by: Candice
Rather than being influenced by the questions whether or not this account of wolf behavior is fictionalized or not (I didn’t even know there was a controversy surrounding this book until I was already halfway through the novel), I decided to take this book at face value, and judge it simply for the thing it was for me as a reader.
Was not “Fargo” presented as being “a true story”, while in fact, it was all made up by the Coen brothers? Did that lie/joke make the movie any less entertaining?
For th
Jessica Griggs
Never Cry Wolf

I read this book in high school based on a recommendation by a teacher. We were supposed to read at least one non-fiction book for class, but I wasn’t really into the non-fiction genre. Luckily, Never Cry Wolf feels and reads more like a work of fiction (partially because many believe Mowat’s retelling to indeed be a work of fiction). There is a lot of controversy over how much, if any, of the book is based on real events. Was it a wise decision to sacrifice credibility for enterta
Feb 07, 2010 Amy rated it liked it
I found out something shocking about Mowat from one of the reviewers below. So here is my original review followed by my updated one:

A true and brilliant account by the author, who was sent out by the Canadian parks service during the early 50's to assess the wolves in the arctic (with anti-wolf sentiment running irrationally high) and the directive to quantify this animals evils. it was excellent, funny and filled with humility/self-parody that made me laugh out loud. yet i liked that it didn't
This was a truly unique book. It is about a biologist who works for the Dominion Wildlife Service.

After a series of events occur Farley was sent (his department basically got rid of him) to the Arctic to study and kill Arctic wolves. After more funny mess-ups occur. Farley Mowat was literally abandoned out in the middle of nowhere. (The pilot thought he was about three hundred miles northwest of Churchill.)

After coming in close contact with a pack of wolves Farley starts his study, and he becom
Feb 05, 2009 Brannon rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. It is the story of a man who goes to study the arctic wolves. He spends time with them and comes to understand who they really are. He debunks the myth that the wolves were destroying the caribou (they were destroyed by careless hunters.) He meets a guy who can speak the wolf language -- I liked that part. Overall I would consider it an eye-opening story. It represents what I feel to be true and correct environmentalism: the ability to do an in-depth study sufficient ...more
Steve H
I missed this book while growing up with the fictional Jack London arctic adventures. It wouldn't have changed my life, but it probably would have reinforced my tendency to question authority and assumptions and favor nature over human-centric ideals.

As a work of science, this is probably looked down upon because Mowat often has his tongue in his cheek and certainly anthropomorphizes his non-human subjects. At the same time, though, he often dehumanizes the humans. Still, this short, accessible
Dec 26, 2015 Allisha rated it liked it
When I looked at the book, I decided I wanted to read it and I held high expectations . The first few reviews I read about this book worried me slightly though. While I read it, I had mixed feelings. I felt it was an enjoyable book purely for the sake because Mowat wrote it in such a fashion that nearly everyone could understand it clearly. In several parts it was amusing, and the book allowed the people back in the day to actually consider wolves as creatures that did not embody the snarling, b ...more
Dec 24, 2014 Wally rated it it was amazing
Reading this over Thanksgiving reminded me what we lost when Mr. Mowat died earlier this year.

This book complicates our perspective on the penultimate predator, the wolf. During the months he observed a family of wolves, Mowat "humanizes" the much vilified wolf.

Beyond the outstanding quality of his nature narrative, he also creates a place for those of us who feel out of place or as an outsider. Mowat is a classic outsider, struggling to fit in with just about everyone he encounters. He finds, h
Aug 12, 2014 Alicia rated it liked it
Hmm- what to say? Farley did take his work seriously; pen in one hand, wolf juice in the other. With wit, alcohol and a telescope, he peeping Tom'd his way into the wolf family of Angeline, George and Uncle Albert in Northern Canada. He wrote, for all appearances, an autobiographical account of his time with these lupine creatures with no less humour than the modern 'Sex in the City' writers, and probably with the same amount of fiction! We have family, fornication, pimping, love won and lost, g ...more
Jan 04, 2014 Eden rated it really liked it
Eden Morillo
My review of the book "Never cry wolf"

You never know the life of a wild animal until you submit your life to study one.Never cry wolf is a fascinating story of the daily lives of arctic wolves. The author used such descriptive detail it made you feel as if you are at the frozen tundra as if you were Farley Mowat accepting the mission to investigate why the wolves were killing arctic caribou. in this book he dedicates an entire summer to solve the mystery but in doing so he falls
Summer ✿
Nov 30, 2014 Summer ✿ rated it did not like it
Shelves: fail, for-school
Bleh. One of the most uninteresting and horribly written books I've read in a while.
This is an excellent book. It is the story of a scientist that is assigned to study wolves in the barrens of arctic Canada. I had read several chapters before it came to me that I had seen the movie of the same name. By the authors own admission he started to write this book in order to expose the bureaucratic politicians and scientists which according to the author were god-like buffoons. He tempered his feelings when he realized that the real story was the wolves. The most charming part of thi ...more
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LDS Ladies Book Club: Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat 4 15 Jul 30, 2016 05:46PM  
I hate this book 11 73 Feb 07, 2014 01:44PM  
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Farley McGill Mowat was a conservationist and one of Canada's most widely-read authors.
Many of his most popular works have been memoirs of his childhood, his war service, and his work as a naturalist. His works have been translated into 52 languages and he has sold more than 14 million books.
Mowat studied biology at the University of Toronto. During a field trip to the Arctic, Mowat became outrag
More about Farley Mowat...

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“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 ourself.” 164 likes
“Somewhere to the eastward a wolf howled; lightly, questioningly. I knew the voice, for I had heard it many times before. It was George, sounding the wasteland for an echo from the missing members of his family. But for me it was a voice which spoke of the lost world which once was ours before we chose the alien role; a world which I had glimpsed and almost entered...only to be excluded, at the end, by my own self.” 8 likes
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