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

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  20,238 ratings  ·  924 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 ta ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published September 13th 2001 by Back Bay Books (first published 1963)
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Reilly His work has been described as "subjective non-fiction." A few other quotes from Mowat, when asked about the truth in his work:

“I never let facts get…more
His work has been described as "subjective non-fiction." A few other quotes from Mowat, when asked about the truth in his work:

“I never let facts get in the way of a good story.”
“F--k the facts. The truth is what is important.”

So take his work with a grain of salt, particularly this book. We know for a fact he was not alone (there were three researchers total for this expedition), and that he didn't spend as much time with the wolves as he claims. Don't get me wrong, I love Mowat and this book, but it's not pure fact.(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
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the natural world, or who wants to learn about wolves
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
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
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.
Lisa Vegan
May 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nature lovers, those interested in wolves (although I had no interest before I started this book)
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
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 himse
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
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
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jillyn by: Chris
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
George K.
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Να και το πρώτο πεντάστερο βιβλίο για φέτος. Πρόκειται για ένα καταπληκτικό μικρό βιβλίο, που από την μια σε ταξιδεύει, σε κάνει να νιώθεις όμορφα με τις περιπέτειες του συγγραφέα στην Αρκτική για την παρακολούθηση των λύκων και σου φτιάχνει το κέφι με το πολύ ωραίο και ευχάριστο χιούμορ του, από την άλλη όμως σε βάζει να σκέφτεσαι κάποια πράγματα για την καθημερινότητά και τον κόσμο γύρω σου, καθώς και για την αντιμετώπιση των ανθρώπων απέναντι στους λύκους και κατ'επέκταση απέναντι σε όλα τα ζ ...more
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
Mar 14, 2016 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
Oct 28, 2013 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 제니 ジェ二 詹妮 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
Feb 20, 2008 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
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
Kerri Anne
"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, not more than the reflected image of ourselves. We have made it the scapewolf for our own sins."
-From the preface (first published in 1963, and no less true today/perpetually)

One of the best and most visual and visceral books I've read in a long time. Also, quite amusing. Mowat's voice feels so kindred, and I'm so t
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.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every Wolf I meet
Recommended to Wayne by: Almost every Wolf I have ever met
"History is more full of the examples of the faithfulness of dogs than of men." - Voltaire

I LOVED this book until....

and then I just could NOT continue with it !!!!!!!!!!!


...and I found I didn't give a damn about UNTIL...
I just LOVED and enjoyed it as much as I had before.

I thought I probably would have done the same things Farley Mowat was accused of,
having had to work with a lot of Fully Fledged Idiots in the NSW Public School System
who had no compunction whatsoever about lying, t
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
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.

May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Gerald Durrell fans
Shelves: audio, canada
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
William Galaini
May 13, 2013 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
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
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
This is my second book by Farley Mowat and I must admit that I like his style. He never fails to find the humour in life. There is some debate about the veracity of the book's content, and I've even seen it described as fiction. In a 2012 interview with The Toronto Star, Mowat himself described it as "subjective nonfiction" and I'm happy with that. In fact, that's what most of the nonfiction published nowadays seems to be. The truth is, I don't really care if the story is factual or not. I learn ...more
[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
Feb 05, 2009 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
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever read a non fiction book that is written in a way that makes it feel like it is more fictionalized then the factual truth? This book might be one of those, I have no doubt that the wolf way of living is as described by Mowat, real and factual but, I can see that he might have embellished the story telling part of his experience. Nevertheless, this was an exceptionally enjoyable read.

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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
“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.” 208 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.” 62 likes
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