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Never Cry Wolf

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  18,304 Ratings  ·  817 Reviews
From ancient times, wolves have been mythologised as ferocious and predatory beasts. In 'Never Cry Wolf' conservationist Farley Mowat sets out to correct the stereotypes.
Audio CD, 4 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Naxos Audiobooks (first published 1963)
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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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
William Galaini
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Willem van den Oever
Aug 10, 2014 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
Feb 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
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
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
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
Julie Davis
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wolves are just like people, except they are not terrible at all. Farley Mowatt will make you want to go live in the barren north with his descriptions of studying wolves.
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I shelved this on my shelf for natural history, but it's a little over-the-top when it comes to accuracy. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but that's probably because of Mowat's ability to take a decent story and turn it into a humorous and fascinating read. Mowat wrote the preface for this edition in 1993 in which he insists that the tale is true. If so, I'd really like to know more about Ootek, the Inuit shaman who had the wolf as his totem.

This one line from the Preface probably best sum
Loved this story, yes, it was long drawn out and very detailed but it was interesting enough with his observations, I couldn't put it down.
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Choice book assignment Jackson Bailey 1 1 Oct 11, 2017 11:06PM  
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I hate this book 11 76 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...
“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.” 193 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.” 10 likes
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