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Never Cry Wolf: The Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  23,651 ratings  ·  1,274 reviews
More than a half-century ago the naturalist Farley Mowat was sent 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 ...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 fiction…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)
Valerie Legacey our american neighbors would scoff at mowats writings, but Farley wrote the truth as he remembered it, arrogance..maybe but show me an author who is n…moreour american neighbors would scoff at mowats writings, but Farley wrote the truth as he remembered it, arrogance..maybe but show me an author who is not arrogant.....a delight to read :)(less)

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Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mowat was proud that he never let facts get in the way of storytelling.
David Hughes
Apr 17, 2008 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.

Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other-nonfiction
A recent read of Chandler Brett's excellent novel A Sheltering Wilderness, the first volume of his projected Wolf Code trilogy, brought to mind this nonfiction book which I read decades ago, and which is a groundbreaking classic in the field study of wolves in the wild. My wife and I read it together, and both found it not only fascinating but enormously educational. It's one of many pre-Goodreads nonfiction books I haven't made time to review until now; and in the meantime, like most of those, ...more
Sep 25, 2013 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
Lisa Vegan
A friend who’d read this, gave me a copy to read in the summer of 1976 and I was riveted. I love the true story of a man who goes to study wolf behavior for the Canadian government and finds the unexpected. I got very attached to those wolves, and learned a great deal about wolf behavior. I don’t want to give away what happens, but want to say that although most of the story is very entertaining, told with great wit, and has many very humorous parts, I did cry also. I’ve reread this book several ...more
Jul 05, 2011 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
Deacon Tom F
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A true adventure book. Farley Mowat’s book focuses on his heroic adventures while living among wolves in the wild.

He is very sensitive to the environment in the 1960’s (the original publication date) before environmental activism was popularized.
Peter Tillman
Around 1948, Farley Mowat was hired by the Canadian Wildlife Service as a field assistant to American biologist Francis Harper for a major study of the caribou near Nueltin Lake https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nueltin... , west of Hudson’s Bay in Arctic Canada. Little of this context was given by Mowat in his "Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves" — which is nonetheless an acknowledged classic, and a very entertaining book to read. I really enjoyed rereading it. But I was taken aback at ...more
Aug 27, 2008 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. ...more
Amanda Hupe
“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.”

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat is a mixture of many different genres. It is one part memoir, one part adventure, one part scientific journalism, and another part nature nonfiction. Can I add humor to this? You know what, I am adding it. There were a few line
The international wolf center says: "When Farley Mowat published his 1963 book, Never Cry Wolf, it was heralded by environmentalists from his native Canada all the way to the Soviet Union. His real-life account of wolf behavior in Canada seemed to shed new light on their prey, their behavior and their role in an ecosystem. But was it actually a true story as he proclaimed? The answer is no."

I started this book with the knowledge that it was an important book that helped to change the perception
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd forgotten how good this book was. It's funny, educational, & heartbreaking. It's a must-read for anyone who likes the environment, north woods, wolves, &/or science as Mowat finds out that everything he'd been taught was wrong.

In the 1950s, Mowat finds himself tasked to learn about the wolves of the north woods which are supposedly wiping out the caribou population. The wolves are ferocious & are killing wantonly - everyone says so. In a series of hilarious events, he finds himself alone in
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
Debbie Zapata
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sundaze2018
This book was originally written in 1963 and my 30th anniversary edition had a new preface by the author in which he said his practice was "...never to allow facts to interfere with the truth...humor has a vital place in helping us understand our lives."

So do we allow this statement to color our judgment of this book? Is it a true story or an embellished one or a totally made up one? Did Mowat really go into the wild and live with wolves the way he said he did? Did he see the behaviors he descri
Esther Espeland
May 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this! Farley mowat is so clever I truly laughed out LOUD all throughout reading this. Manages to be such a delightful blend of humor and terrific nature writing, even though I was not a wolf girl in elementary school the subject was just lovely to learn learn about. Tbh I am pissed that my Canadian dad read this Canadian book and other Farley mowats only to my brother and not me during childhood! This was one of their special father son bonding things and now I’m like but this w ...more
Jun 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
8 out of 10

Never Cry Wolf is a book by Farley Mowat. This book is about his expedition to the arctic and his studying of the wolves that live there. The reason he got to go there is that people believed that wolves were hunting all the caribou, and they wanted someone to watch the wolves to prove their theory. Farley got to go out there and study their behavior.

Never Cry Wolf Book Cover

Farley eventually found a cabin that was owned by a guy named Mike. Mike allowed Farley to stay on his property, and thus he then be
Feb 12, 2022 rated it really liked it
This is a first person narrative of Farley Mowat's alleged time in the barrens of Canada studying wolves. I say "alleged" because Mowat's "true story" has since been proven to be largely fictional.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. It was entertaining with a number of humerous moments. Two moments in particular made me laugh out loud.

Although I’m not sure how I feel knowing that the story is a fictional work represented as a true story. Does that make me like it less? Should it? I don’t know…

Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 29, 2016 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 04, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
3.5 ⭐

I know this book doesn't represent the literal truth, but in some important ways that doesn't matter so much.
Back when I first read this, the myth of vicious killer wolves was still very much part of conventional wisdom. Mowat's book started to change that. Although he was labeled 'Hardly Knowit' by professional scientists, no one could say he couldn't write passionately about the natural world. And if a lot of what he wrote was just a story, it was still a pretty good story.
Ann-Marie "Cookie M."
This book, written in the 1940's is full of information about wolves that we have only become aware of since the early 21st Century! It flies in the face of what we have wanted to think about the wild canid relatives of dogs and is truly fascinating for anyone who wants to understand our favorite animal companions, whose cousins they are. ...more
Oct 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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,
Rachel Bea
I don't care if there is controversy around this book having some, or a lot, of fabrication to it. The message is clear: It's not wolves who are the problem, it's humans.

I enjoyed the writing style - at times it was quite funny, other times what he described was gut-wrenching. I felt as if I was there with him in the Arctic, getting to know the wolves and the indigenous people who lived there.

I recently visited a wolf sanctuary in New York for my birthday. It was an amazing experience; they hav
Sarah B
I really enjoyed reading this book about a man's experience studying wolves in the far north of Canada. I believe I read this book many years ago, possibly when I was a teenager. I've always loved reading books like this that tells of a person's adventure out in the wilderness, with wildlife, whether it's based on real life or in fictional stories. I think everyone should read this so they will understand that real wolves are not a threat to humans (although some dogs can be). It's just an amazi ...more
May 01, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-author
I guess I was expecting more on the hunt and subsequent decimation of the wolf population and efforts to save them during Mowat's time in the north, but it seemed to happen only in Chapter 23; the details of which were shocking.

The parts of Mowat's interaction with "his" wolf pack were entertaining and offered some good laughs and insights into their family behaviours and how this pack interacted with other packs while the males were out hunting. The details regarding hunting the caribou and oth
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very funny and interesting because it is a (probably...) true story, although there is some discussion on that part. I agree with the writer though, sometimes a non scientific way of writing about a species is much more accurate and interesting than an actual scientific report. I hope that one day humans will stop being savages and allow the wolf some more space in the world again, as they truly are amazing creatures.
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biology, ant-arctic
Absolutely loved this book about a biologist living amongst the wolves for a while in the Arctic. Mr Mowat has a great way of writing and is actually really funny. I'd even recommend this to non-biologists or people not interested in wolves, you'll love them after this book. They are seriously misunderstood animals, very smart and not as violent as most people think. It all depends on the situation, and it is true that loads of their habitat is taken by humans.

Recently a few wolves have been sp
Dec 24, 2015 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
Jenn Noto
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
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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 outrage

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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.” 227 likes
“Whenever and wherever men have engaged in the mindless slaughter of animals (including other men), they have often attempted to justify their acts by attributing the most vicious or revolting qualities to those they would destroy; and the less reason there is for the slaughter, the greater the campaign for vilification.” 73 likes
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