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1. People of the Deer (Death of a
2. The Boat Who Wouldn't Float
3. Born Naked: The Early Adventures
4. Eastern Passage
5. The Snow Walker
6. A Whale For The Killing
7. The Farfarers: Before the Norse
8. Otherwise (Globe and Mail Best
9. The Dog Who Wouldn't Be
10. And No Birds Sang: The Farley
11. Never Cry Wolf : Amazing True
12. The Grey Seas Under: The Perilous
13. Farley: The Life of Farley Mowat
14. Lost in the Barrens
15. Bay of Spirits: A Love Story (Globe
16. Farley Mowat (Canadian writers
17. Owls in the Family
18. The Serpent's Coil
19. Sea of Slaughter
20. No Man's River

1. People of the Deer (Death of a People)
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 287 Pages (2004-12-21)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786714786
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In 1886, the Ihalmiut people of northern Canada numbered seven thousand; by 1946, when Farley Mowat began his two-year stay in the Arctic, the population had fallen to just forty. With them, he observed for the first time the phenomenon that would inspire him for the rest of his life: the millennia-old migration of the Arctic’s caribou herds. He also endured bleak, interminable winters, suffered agonizing shortages of food, and witnessed the continual, devastating intrusions of outsiders bent on exploitation. Here, in this classic and first book to demonstrate the mammoth literary talent that would produce some of the most memorable books of the next half-century, best-selling author Farley Mowat chronicles his harrowing experiences. People of the Deer is the lyrical ethnography of a beautiful and endangered society. It is a mournful reproach to those who would manipulate and destroy indigenous cultures throughout the world. Most of all, it is a tribute to the last People of the Deer, the diminished Ihalmiuts, whose calamitous encounter with our civilization resulted in their unnecessary demise. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Account of Eskimo Life
Before reading this book, I would never have believed it would receive all 5 stars. However, it is truly beautifully written about the death of a people.The author - who lived with the tribe for 2 years to attempt to understand the people from their point of view - did an expert job of recanting what happened, how it happened.He makes a very determined attempt to see things differently than his point of view.My opinion is that he succeeds in doing so.

Though a sociologist, the book is luridly written.It is easy for one to visualize what the writer is experiencing.In modern times, you'd expect such good writing from travel journalist/book writers.Here it is holey unexpected and appreciated.

A wonderful book about the encroachment of modernization and it's mal-effects on an unsuspecting people.

Finally, I always attempt to address the low star ratings in my own reviews.I'm not quite sure why someone would completely hate this book.The middle ratings appear to question the validity of the author's experience. While I am no expert on this topic, I would say that it might not matter if it's true.The message, particularly given it was written in 1947, is well conveyed.If you are an academic and hard-core sociologist, you might have an issue if there is some controversy surrounding the author's sincerity in methodology.

4-0 out of 5 stars Recommended for the armchair adventurer
If you've read any of Farley Mowat's books, this one will excite you as much as any of the others.If you've wondered how Mowat became attached to the Northlands and it's people, People of the Deer will show you how it all began.This book also introduces us to a people that have all but lost their land and their way of life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Microcosm of aboriginal disappearance
"People of the Deer" is apparently Farley Mowat's first book and one of his best.He lived for a year amongst the Ihalmiut, an Inuit people Mowat refers to as "People of the Deer" although they regarded themselves, as have many aborigonal people, as simple "The People."

They are people of the deer--caribou--because, unlike other Inuit groups they are not sea hunters but, instead predators of the migratory caribou herds.The herds have declined in numbers but not as much as the Ihalmiut.From a population high of around 7,000 they had, by Mowat's time, declined to only 40.Why?The impact of European Civilization is too simple of a generalization but, in the Ihalmiut, a people almost extinct, we see the fate of millions.

Native Americans have little or no immunity to Old World diseases.You probably don't have to go much deeper than this.Sure there was alcohol and cultural deterioration but, first and foremost, there is disease.It wasn't deliberate but it came when the first white man and/or African stepped shore in the Americas.Probably the Inhalmiut were slightly luckier than many.Many tribes died out without a trace.Estimates [read '1491'] that as many as 90% of native americans died as the result of unintentionally introduced European diseases.

Ron Braithwaite author of novels--"Skull Rack" and "Hummingbird God"--on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Novel of the North
Farley Mowat is a Canadian National treasure.

This novel is set in the northern territories of Canada.It move within the people of the inuit.These inland eskimos are an indigeounous people whose population has been diminishing.The influence on the environment as well as the impact on the caribou herds has been putting these people at risk to where they now near extinction and a loss of their way of life.

Beautifully written, the tundra and the barrens comes to life.

A wonderful read!

3-0 out of 5 stars Concept is correct
The concept is correct anyway.These people were led to their demise by three factors:the church, commercialization (HBC), and the Canadian government.Mowat claims he spent two years living among these people.This is doubted by some.I've traveled in some of the areas that this book takes place.Not everyone has great things to say about this author.One person I talked to called him a historical novelist.He has other nicknames.

But while it is questionable that all the events described in this book and its' successor (The Desperate People) actually took place, at least he got the main theme correct.
... Read more

2. The Boat Who Wouldn't Float
by Farley Mowat
Mass Market Paperback: 256 Pages (1984-05-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$2.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 055327788X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
It seemed like a good idea. Tired of everyday life ashore, Farley Mowat would find a sturdy boat in Newfoundland and roam the salt sea over, free as a bird. What he found was the worst boat in the world, and she nearly drove him mad. The Happy Adventure, despite all that Farley and his Newfoundland helpers could do, leaked like a sieve. Her engine only worked when she felt like it. Typically, on her maiden voyage, with the engine stuck in reverse, she backed out of the harbour under full sail. And she sank, regularly.

How Farley and a varied crew, including the intrepid lady who married him, coaxed the boat from Newfoundland to Lake Ontario is a marvellous story. The encounters with sharks, rum-runners, rum and a host of unforgettable characters on land and sea make this a very funny book for readers of all ages. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gift for hasband
My hasband requsted this book for Christmas. I am please with speed and shipping of this book,and would use this company agan.

4-0 out of 5 stars The author's hilarious true story of life aboard a quarrelsome boat
This must be the funniest of Farley Mowat's books, the true story of his sailing adventures off the southern coast of Newfoundland in a rickety little schooner with a mind of her own and a propensity for bad behavior. No matter how hard Mowat tries, he just can't get her to stop leaking or or even reliably follow a course. The book is so outrageous at times that it's hard to believe it's all true. This is an easy read, in thoroughly enjoyable Newfie seadog dialect, suitable for all ages. Yachtsmen and Newfoundland fans will not want to miss this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious Light-Hearted Romp
This is exactly the kind of book I like to read, light hearted, funny, true storytelling.If you like the sea and you like having a chuckle over the antics of others this is a great book for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mowat is terrific!
If you are an out-of-doors person, love humor and rum, Mowat is your kind of read. You will love everyone of his books no matter what the title is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
The only thing that would have made this book better is if I could have shared it with my boat loving dad before he passed away. This book made me so nostalgic for the old tugs my dad bought and struggled with and rarely got past the breakwater at the marina with. I learned all my best cuss words on those weekends on the boats.

Mowats memoir of his time with the Happy Adventure made me laugh. Made me happy and reminded me why I only ride ferry boats and cruise ships.

I plan to read many of his other works and look forward to learning more of his adventures. ... Read more

3. Born Naked: The Early Adventures of the Author of Never Cry Wolf
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 272 Pages (1995-03-22)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395735289
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Farley Mowat's youth was charmed and hilarious, and unbelievably free in its access to unspoiled nature through bird-banding expeditions and overnight outings in the dead of winter. The author writes of sleeping in haystacks for survival, and other adventures, with equal shares of Booth Tarkington and Jack London. He also brings back Mutt, the famous hero-dog of his classic THE DOG WHO WOULDN'T BE, and his pet owl Wol, hero of OWLS IN THE FAMILY. The tale of an outrageous and clever boy, BORN NAKED takes its place as the foundation of the Farley Mowat canon. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb
Farley Mowat is a master of conveying you into another time, and making you feel at home.

He transports you to the Canada of the late 20s and early 30s--from the Flapper Age to the Crash.

He also transports you to the wide-eyed wonder of childhood, when everything is new and strange and exciting and scary.

He manages to convey adult disquiets (extramarital affairs, disharmony, mismatch in marriage) from the oblivious point of a child who sees them but doesn't understand them because he is preoccupied with child-things: exploration, animals, collecting, making (and not making) friends, and so on.

What is so amazing about this book is how it sneaks up on you.The litany of funny anecdotes manages to convey a deep and complex picture of almost all the important characters.

A funny, entrancing read about a bygone, yet strangely eternal, time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Farley at his best
The other reviews have been spot on, this is a page turner extraordinaire--delightful moments, amusing stories, amazing adventures in days of yore.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Love Song to Nature and Life
If you've read Farley Mowat, you know him as a passionate defender of the beautiful "Others" with whom we share our planet. This book is a joy-filled description of his early life and formation as a nature-lover. We hear of the wild beauty of Canada, the Quixotic plans his father devised and his mother endured, and the daring adventures which will become the foundation for his later writings. Although a light-hearted story overall, Farley does not avoid the difficult times, including a powerful depiction of the effect of the Depression on the Canadian provinces. It is a love song to the strength of character and perseverence of our northern cousins, as well.

When the book ends, the reader, like the writer, wonders if there will ever be such a wonderful time again. Sheer delight.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mowat is a true Canadian gem
I enjoy all of Mowat's books, but this one is particularly good.His style is conversational, his humor is biting. Clearly a man who does not suffer a fool lightly. Farley Mowat is a national gem. Buy the book...

5-0 out of 5 stars Born Naked is one of the most amazing books around.
Canadian author Farley Mowat's Born Naked is a must-read glimpse into the author's much self-written about life. It's hilarious, it's poignant and amust for any Mowat fan. ... Read more

4. Eastern Passage
by Farley Mowat
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2010-10-12)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$15.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0771064918
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Following Farley Mowat’s bestselling memoir, Otherwise, the literary lion returns with an unexpected triumph

Eastern Passage
is a new and captivating piece of the puzzle of Farley Mowat’s life: the years from his return from the north in the late 1940s to his discovery of Newfoundland and his love affair with the sea in the 1950s. This was a time in which he wrote his first books and weathered his first storms of controversy, a time when he was discovering himself through experiences that, as he writes, "go to the heart of who and what I was" during his formative years as a writer and activist.

In the 1950s, with his career taking off but his first marriage troubled, Farley Mowat buys a piece of land northwest of Toronto and attempts to settle down. His accounts of building his home are by turns hilarious and affecting, while the insights into his early work and his relationship with his publishers offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a writer’s career.

But in the end, his restless soul could not be pinned to one place, and when his father offered him a chance to sail down the St. Lawrence, he jumped at it, not realizing that his journey would bring him face to face with one of Canada’s more shocking secrets – one most of us still don’t know today. This horrific incident, recalling as it did the lingering aftermath of war, and from which it took the area decades to recover, would forge the final tempering of Mowat as the activist we know today.

Farley Mowat grows wiser and more courageous with each passing year, and Eastern Passage is a funny, astute, and moving book that reveals that there is more yet to this fascinating and beloved figure than we think we know.

... Read more

5. The Snow Walker
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 209 Pages (2004-09)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811731464
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Central to Farley Mowat's writing is his quest to understand the often-forgotten native people of the vast arctic wilderness. In this moving collection, he allows these people to describe in their own words the adventures they experience as they struggle to survive in an isolated, untamed land. Stories of survival and courage, of superstition and fate, of uncompromising loyalty to family and tribe are presented here; offering a vivid portrait of a people whose existence is often beyond the comprehension of modern man. Inspiration for the major motion picture from Infinity Media and First Look International ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Lot of fiction in this compilation...
I am a big fan of Farley Mowat and my favorite works of his are definitely his non-fiction: People of the Deer and The Serpent's Coil come to mind. I was hoping for more non-fiction, but most of The Snow Walker is fiction...nicely done fiction but...I buy Mowat for his true accounts so I have to say a slogged through the book but it was not my favorite. I am enjoying one of his more recent works at present Bay of Spirits.
Anyway, if you are looking for a gripping true account I would buy one of his other books.

5-0 out of 5 stars The demise of a people
Mowat is, once again, critical of government agencies and organizations in the mandatory relocation of natives to an inhospitable location and failure to monitor the results of the move.Creates a better understanding of how a group of people become extinct.A difficult survival made more difficult!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Snow Walker
This is a great collection of stories in classic Farley Mowat style; compelling. A fantastic movie was made of one of the short stories in the collection and also titled 'Snow Walker', but read the book first. He's written many wonderful books, but my favorite tales will always be of the Inuit where his love of the people and their culture shines through.
Chrissy K. McVay
author of 'Souls of the North Wind'

5-0 out of 5 stars quick yet profound stories, eh? [no spoilers]
"The Snow Walker" is a collection of beautifully written short stories centered in the extreme cold artic regions.As an individual who has ventured into the northern lands, Farley Mowat conveys ten compelling tales from natives and their cultural heritage.The narratives range from superstitious to legendary adventure and either inspires the spirit or brings a dark mood to the betrayal faced by the indigenous people by the white man.

Those not fluent with certain acronyms or northern culture might have difficulty understanding small segments of some stories.A detailed map of the significant terrains would have been useful.

Thank you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Mowat's best book
I'm a big fan of Farley Mowat, but this is not a book that I would rank among his best.I just couldn't get into it, although some of the stories were entertaining.Nagging questions about the manner in which he may have embellished the stories dogged me throughout. ... Read more

6. A Whale For The Killing
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 214 Pages (2005-09-10)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$8.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811731863
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
When an 80-ton Fin Whale became trapped in a Newfoundland lagoon, conservationist Farley Mowat rejoiced: here was the first chance to study at close range one of the most magnificent animals in creation. Some local villagers thought otherwise. They blasted the whale with rifle fire and hacked open her back with a motorboat propeller. Mowat appealed desperately to the police, to marine biologists, finally to the Canadian press. But it was too late. Ravaged by an infection resulting from her massive wounds, the whale died.

World-renowned for his passionate tales of survival, Farley Mowat wrote his new book to symbolize the plight of all whales preyed on by man for commercial profit. A Whale for the Killing is an urgent, eloquent plea to stop the massacre now...before the entire species is doomed to extinction. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Storytelling, UTTERLY depressing
Farley Mowat is a brilliant storyteller--one of my favorites--but in spite of his brilliance the book (especially the first half) is SO UTTERLY DEPRESSING that I could barely get through it.In fact, I tried reading this book five years ago but got so depressed I stopped it about a third of the way through.The depressing part is the incredible human cruelty toward whales--including ignorance, brutality, ultra-exploitation, and downright petty viciousness--all of which Mowat juxtaposes against wonderfully told vignettes and scientific insights into whale biology.Perhaps he (known for his occasional literary exaggerations) was attempting to ratchet up the emotion in the story, and if so, it worked, par excellance--but worked TOO MUCH.The book really borders on being too painful to read.

Meanwhile, if the first half is the more depressing part, the second half is the supposedly hopeful and courageous part, in which a seventy foot long pregnant female fin whale swims into and gets trapped in a relatively small saltwater "pond" in Newfoundland, and Mowat and others try to rescue her in the midst of a partially hostile town which torments her with speedboats (for "fun"), shoots her over a hundred times with heavy army rifles (for "sport"--and they even try to shoot her in the eye), and doesn't care if she lives or dies.Although yes, this part is MORE hopeful--and full of more of gifted storytelling and valuable biological insights--it is still full of so much depression and misery and nauseating short-sightedness that it risks crushing any hopefulness.

This leads to my main problem with the book:I found it to lack redemptive value in the broader sense.Basically, it's a story of misery and human idiocy and the impending extinction of some of the most beautiful and majestic creatures on earth.I know this is reality--and something we must face--but I still wish Mowat offered more of a vision of what we should do.Of course, there is value in simply stating the problem, and stating is poignantly, but still...I'm looking for something more.

And personally--and call me unfair--I feel annoyed that Mowat didn't take more of a stand early on against the vicious townspeople.I understand that it's terrifying to stand up against a mindless (armed) mob when you're a semi-outsider hoping for acceptance by the town, but still...I have my fantasy hope.Or is it fantasy?

I believe that to really change the world we have to be willing to risk everything.

4-0 out of 5 stars A moving story well-told
Newfoundland is the easternmost outpost of Canada in the North Atlantic, and in 1962, Farley Mowat, already a well known writer, moved to the town of Burgeo on its desolate south coast.The area was remote, reachable only by the weekly steamer and an occasional chartered seaplane.Mowat loved it there, and in the first fifty pages says much about the beauty of the place and the friendly inhabitants.

The local economy was based on fishing, with a recently opened fish-freezing plant.Mowat is scornful of the fish-freezing plant, and generally of much of the modern influences he sees around him -- he calls it "compulsive consumerism, the universal sickness of modern society".In early 1967, the contrast between his views on the world and those of his fellow-villagers were brought shockingly into focus when a seventy foot pregnant Fin whale was trapped in a "natural aquarium" called Aldridge Pond.

It was several days before Mowat found out about the whale.In that time numerous locals had used up almost all the ammunition in the village shooting the whale with high-powered rifles, and had rammed it in a speed boat to carve open its back, for sport.When Mowat found out he tried with little success to get the local authorities to protect the whale, and sent some information to a Canadian news organization to try to get academic interest in the chance to study a big Fin whale up close.That led to a flood of publicity, and simultaneously to much of the village turning against Mowat for being an "outsider" and refusing to let them do as they pleased.Mowat tried to keep their boats from Aldridge Pond and their bullets away from the whale, and many of the locals saw him as an interfering foreigner.

The whale died, ultimately, hungry and in agony from innumerable infected bullet wounds.The last few chapters show Mowat almost out of his mind with rage and frustration at the bureaucratic hurdles in his way and at the bloodthirstiness of his fellow men.

Mowat has been criticized for tailoring his stories to fit his agenda: his motto is "Never let the facts interfere with the truth".However, I'm not aware that this particular story was much changed -- the whale really did exist and did die as he describes.The book is certainly propaganda for the view that humans should live and let live, but it is also a terrific story.

The book is well-written, and is a stirring and depressing read; although one would like to think a modern community would be less bloody in its response to a whale.Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT BOOK
This is a profoundly moving and important book, and I cannot recommend ittoo highly.Immensely readable and full of fascinating insights into theother "nations" with which we humans share this planet, it isalso one of the very few books I have ever read which changed the directionof my life.For anyone who wants to truly understand this world in whichwe find ourselves this is one of the "must read" books.

5-0 out of 5 stars A true story with unexpectedly clear symbolism
"A Whale for the Killing" chronicles the unlikely and you might also say, unseemly doings in a small Newfoundland outport in the 1960s. In what soon proved to be a run of bad luck, one of the largest of the sea mammals, aFin whale, found itself trapped in a huge body of water near the town ofBurgeo. It had managed to just slide over a rocky underwater escarpment andget into the bay, but try as it might it could not get out again.

FarleyMowat's part in the story is rather extraordinary and I won't go into it indetail here, for fear of spoiling it. Suffice it to say that he becomes, asfar as such a thing is possible, the trapped whale's guardian andbroadcasts the story of its plight throughout the world. His relationshipwith the mammal develops in conjunction with his relationship with thetownspeople of Burgeo and the local and provincial authorities. I would notlike to call this a thrilling story, because that seems hardly appropriate,but it is a dramatic one whichever way you look at it. In the process ofattempting to rescue the whale, Mowat (and now, through the book, us)learns a great deal more about human nature than he might have imagined hewould, beforehand.

Farley Mowat has written innumerable books aboutwildlife, the environment and the Canadian wilderness in general. This is abook he scarcely planned to write but he brings to it all the skills of thewriter who has practised his art over many years. It is a first-rate storyabout living on Earth in the twentieth century, and it should be widelyread for the message it contains about the frailty of all existence.

4-0 out of 5 stars A painful story that must be told.
This Farley Mowat book, written in the early 1970s, is one that grabs ahold of you.I could not set it down.It's a true story of a trapped whale off the Newfoundland coast and what happens because of the stupidity of humans.Farley Mowat uses the story to tell of the plight of all whales in human hands.Though much has changed since this was written, whales are still threatened and the story will still disturb you.

A touching, honest, beatifully written true story.This is book that you will not forget after reading. ... Read more

7. The Farfarers: Before the Norse
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 528 Pages (2002)

Isbn: 0385659261
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Informative and intriguing
Who really "discovered America"? As far as Europeans are concerned, that is, for of course North America already had a population before anyone from Europe crossed the Atlantic. It's accepted history now that this took place long before 1492, and that it happened far to the north of the route followed by Columbus. But is it true that the first to make the voyage were the Norse? Author Farley Mowat thinks otherwise, and presents his thinking in this intriguing volume.

Mowat mixes facts with his own speculations, which he bases on both his own research and his interpretation of research conducted by others. The result is fanciful at times, but always interesting. He makes a good case for his belief that "Albans" from the British Isles moved first to Iceland, then to Greenland, onward to the Baffin Island and Labrador coasts of northern Canada, and finally down into southwestern Newfoundland, as settlers chasing the riches of "tusker" (walrus) herds and as refugees fleeing the Vikings who are often credited with being the first to settle the same lands. Or the first Europeans to do so, anyway.

Is Mowat right? Form your own opinion after reading his book, would be my advice. I found it both informative and intriguing.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of "Love, Jimmy: A Maine Veteran's Longest Battle"

5-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing new view of early European history
I have been delighted, fascinated and amazed by Mr. Mowat's examinations of the thin but provocative historical and legendary traces of the Albans who predated all the early European peoples you have probably ever heard of. Several of his sources are reliable hisrotical records that have been ignored previously for various political reasons. Where information is incomplete he proposes soundly-based, compelling scenarios -- clearly identified as such -- for what might have happened. A pleasant, intriguing, and informative read.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not up to his usual standard
I was delighted to bump into a Farley Mowat book in the used book store and eagerly stated reading it. I have read and reread many of his books in the last 40 years, but not this one. I could only get thru about 1/3 of it before I was dreading having to pick it up again. Really dry and quite boring in long passages. Maybe it should only have 1 star but I couldn't do that to an author of so many great books.

3-0 out of 5 stars An interesting tale woven around very little data
In 1990, Farley Mowat wrote a book about the Vikings in Greenland and North America. After that book, he began to doubt the conclusion that the Vikings were the first Europeans to visit these areas. This book is his reconstruction of history, based on the conclusion that these first "Farfarers" were the pre-Indo-European people remembered as the Armoricans, the Picts, and the builders of the Hebridean broch. This work is an interesting combination of an essay, and a fictional account of Farfarers throughout history.

When I began this book, I enjoyed it immensely. His stories of Romans and Picts really caught my imagination. However, later I began to find his argument less and less plausible. His rewriting of the Icelandic Sagas seemed quite strange to me. And worse, his contention that the existence of the North American continent was widely known in Europe in the 11th century struck me as frightfully implausible.

Therefore, let me say that while this is an entertaining book, I found it far from convincing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but Highly Speculative
Many people are aware of the notion of pre-Columbian contact with America by the Norse. What many are not aware of is that there are also many other theories and legends of pre-Columbian contact by other culture. This book addresses on such possibility but does so in a different manner than most. Instead of positing a one or a few trip by isolated explorers it looks at the presence of an entire European culture.

This is not as far fetched as it may seem at first. Much of the story takes place in Europe with known, albeit barely known, people. The author calls these people the Albans since we do not know what they called themselves. They are a pre-Celtic people who inhabited the eastern seaboard and survived as crofters and fishermen. Over time they were driven to the British Isles by the Celts. From there, they were driven on to Iceland by the Norse. For this much, there exists historical documentation. From there the speculation takes over but it is not wild or completely unsupported.

As the Norse people move westward, so too did the Albans in an attempt to stay ahead of their enemies. They went to Greenland and then to North America. They maintained trade links with Europe trading products such as walrus ivory and marine mammal oil. Eventually they settled in Newfoundland where they were eventually assimilated by the local peoples or wiped out by the still advancing Norse. Such, anyhow, is the author's theory.

As presented, these theories are well reasoned, make use of existing anomalies in the archeological and historical records and are non-fantastic in that they do not involve UFOs. They fly in the face of much academic wisdom but these same academics have often shown themselves to be suspect. In the end, however, these remain just theories. The proof is lacking or never existed.

Farley Mowat does a wonderful job of telling the story. He clearly distinguishes between his own theories, those of others and makes a good effort to present what evidence does exist. That which is speculation is clearly labeled as such. This is a serious academic effort that is hampered only by the paucity of evidence and entrenched academic interests. Mostly though, it is an enjoyable read.
... Read more

8. Otherwise (Globe and Mail Best Books)
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 368 Pages (2009-10-13)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 077106490X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A Canadian icon gives us his final book, a memoir of the events that shaped this beloved writer and activist.

Farley Mowat has been beguiling readers for fifty years now, creating a body of writing that has thrilled two generations, selling literally millions of copies in the process. In looking back over his accomplishments, we are reminded of his groundbreaking work: He single-handedly began the rehabilitation of the wolf with Never Cry Wolf. He was the first to bring advocacy activism on behalf of the Inuit and their northern lands with People of the Deer and The Desperate People. And his was the first populist voice raised in defense of the environment and of the creatures with whom we share our world, the ones he has always called The Others.

Otherwise is a memoir of the years between 1937 and the autumn of 1948 that tells the story of the events that forged the writer and activist. His was an innocent childhood, spent free of normal strictures, and largely in the company of an assortment of dogs, owls, squirrels, snakes, rabbits, and other wildlife. From this, he was catapulted into wartime service, as anxious as any other young man of his generation to get to Europe and the fighting. The carnage of the Italian campaign shattered his faith in humanity forever, and he returned home unable and unwilling to fit into post-war Canadian life. Desperate, he accepted a stint on a scientific collecting expedition to the Barrengrounds. There in the bleak but beautiful landscape he finds his purpose — first with the wolves and then with the indomitable but desperately starving Ihalmiut. Out of these experiences come his first pitched battles with an ignorant and uncaring federal bureaucracy as he tries to get aid for the famine-stricken Inuit. And out of these experiences, too, come his first books.

Otherwise goes to the heart of who and what Farley Mowat is, a wondrous final achievement from a true titan.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Mystery of Mowat
Mowat's masterful adventure-telling skills remain intact.His knack for
poignant detail is undiminished.I could not put the book down, and for days
now after finishing, I still cannot stop pondering the mystery of this man,
tenacious defender of wildlife, who throughout his life plunged head-first into
frightful situations.

In the abrupt final few pages of this book Mowat described a wolf den he
crawled into, found occupied, and successfullly scrambled out of.What
followed was for me a devastating emotional ambush as he disclosed the
unnecessary and incomprensible violence he inflicted against the wolf and pups
still inside.I no longer knew this man.Perhaps Farley has grown weary of
adulation. I suspect that incident is one of his most personally painful.It
certainly has been painful for me.I keep probing for a way to feel otherwise.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT JOB AGAIN MR MOWAT

9. The Dog Who Wouldn't Be
by Farley Mowat
Mass Market Paperback: 211 Pages (1984-06-01)
list price: US$6.50 -- used & new: US$2.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553279289
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Farely Mowat's best loved book tells the splendidly entertaining story of his boyhood on the Canadian prairies.  Mutt's pedigree was uncertain, but his madness was indisputable.  He climbed tress and ladders, rode passenger in an open car wearing goggles and displaying hunting skills that bordered on sheer genius.  He was a marvelous dog, worthy of an unusual boy growing up a raw, untamed wilderness. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Boy and His Dog
This book is delightful.I have read it several times and given it as a present to small children.Life was wonderful in that time and place.Farley Mowat has a gift for describing happy memories.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great author from the great Belleville, Ontario, Canada.
Laugh-out-loud read-aloud. At first my 9 year-old son was skeptical when this arrived and I picked it for "bedtime reading", but then he took it to his room to finish it himself! Had to explain a few cultural and geographical things to my South Georgia-born son, but some themes are so universal they easily span time and space.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Boy and His Dog
This was a fairly fun memoir of a boy and his dog, and their adventures in Canada. Some of Mutt's antics were particularly hilarious. As far as dog memoirs go, however, this was not one of my favorites. It did not feel very cohesive - more of a collection of "Mutt's Best Moments" than a true story of the relationship between a Mowat and Mutt. It was entertaining, though, and some of its most interesting parts were the glimpses into 1930s Canada.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Dog Story with a Laugh a Minute
I don't know how many copies of Farley Mowat's THE DOG WHO WOULDN'T BE I have bought for gifts over the years. Quite a few. The book is about a number of the animals Farley kept at his home as a youngster, but mostly about Mutt, the family's dog, who WAS a mutt but exhibited some amazing abilities and did some very strange and hilarious things. The book is a great read for anyone high school age through adult, I would say. It is easily read (a few big words will keep you on your toes), can be read a chapter at a time and then put down, would be perfect for anyone who is ill and needs cheering up, and is a must read for an animal lover.

5-0 out of 5 stars laugh out loud funny
I remembered reading this book as a kid and wanted to read it again (I'm 50 now).It was still funny enough to make me laugh out loud.The author uses very vivid descriptions that create a great mental picture.I would recommend this book to anyone lower teens and above (uses big words).You might have to read it to someone younger (my daughter loved it when I read it to her). ... Read more

10. And No Birds Sang: The Farley Mowat Library
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 256 Pages (2004-09)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811731456
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In July 1942, Farley Mowat was an eager young infantryman bound for Europe and impatient for combat. This powerful, true account of the action he saw, fighting desperately to push the Nazis out of Italy, evokes the terrible reality of war with an honesty and clarity fiction can only imitate. In scene after unforgettable scene, he describes the agony and antic humor of the soldier's existence: the tedium of camp life, the savagery of the front, and the camaraderie shared by those who have been bloodied in battle. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Canadian Troops in WWII
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about Canadian troops in WWII. I have found very little written about their part in the war and here Farley Mowat tells us his personal story.This book should be read along with his book The Regiment which gives details of the Italian campaign.It is a sobering account.

4-0 out of 5 stars dark humor and intense fights from the Italian campaign
Farley Mowat's book about the war in Italy is certainly one of the most moving accounts I have read.Mowat became a professional writer after leaving the army, completing many books about nature and history, so this memoir is constructed with a flair that is absent in many stories about the war.The introspective and often hilarious wit that sets the tone for the book gives it an originality that is all its' own, making it quite powerful.
Mowat was part of the Hasting's and Prince Edward regiment of the 1st Canadian Infantry division, joining after his graduation from high school in 1940.Mowat was often the butt of many jokes due to his juvenile appearance while holding the rank of 2nd Lt.His superiors knew he was not yet mature enough in body and mind to take command of a combat unit, so he did not ship out to England until 1942.There are some hilarious anecdotes from his time in England, among them, the loss of his virginity in "the least romantic seduction of modern times" to a land army girl in London.Mowat's sense of humor seems to branch out into all aspects of his military life, as his wit at times comes across as wry and slightly subversive to his superior officers.He gains the reputation as somewhat of a smart-ass, but certainly has a serious introspective nature, that is witnessed as he explores the English countryside in search of various bird species. As 1943 dawns, the division engages in intensive training, conducting many amphibious landings on the icy beaches of Scotland.Many speculate they are headed for an attack upon Norway, but as they would find out in July, the division would join up with Montgomery's British 8th Army for an attack upon the island of Sicily. By this time, Mowat is the commander of 7th platoon in Able company of the Hasty P's, which has the reputation of being somewhat of a disciplinary outfit.The author still shows some youthful irreverence in his behavior, as he and a friend take a mine detector through the mess of hall of his transport the night before the invasion, zapping an officer's behind with it, asking him if he consumed anything explosive.
The playfulness that defines much of Mowat's memory begins to fade as the division lands on the beaches near Syracuse on the morning of July 10th.Things are quite mixed up on the landing beaches, but the Italian units guarding the coast chose to surrender or retreat, leaving the Canadians to regroup and push inland.Mowat begins to mature rapidly as he sees his first combat in the villages of Grammichele, Valguanerra, and Mt. Assoro.He is quite descriptive of the fierce battles in the arid, rocky hills of Sicily, as the division is quite successful in their attacks up the German Panzer divisions along the Etna line south of Messina.The division is relieved after a month in the hot, dangerous hills of Sicily, and Mowat is transferred to battalion Intelligence, prior to the invasion of Italy on September 3rd.The author handles the surrender of Italians, works with partisans, and avoids German demolitions as the 8th Army works its' way towards Rome.As October ends, the advance grinds to a halt in the face of torrential rains and Germans fortified in the hills.AS the division engages in some of the bloodiest and futile assaults on the Italian mainland, the writing becomes quite poetic and visceral, as the author develops an ominous sense of dread.These are some of the most painfully beautiful passages (he shares a drink with a dying German), as Mowat captures the sheer terror that grips the front line soldier, which he calls "The Worm." The book ends rather abruptly as his friend and mentor Major Alex Campbell is gunned down.This event seems to have shattered Mowat's sense of youthful innocence, creating a powerful and melancholic end to his war on the front lines, as he was transferred to Brigade HQ, with an apparent case of battle fatigue on Christmas 1943.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining memoir
I laughed through much of the first half of this book. The writing style is similar to that of the World War II classic "Brazen Chariots," by Robert Crisp. Mowat and Crisp find ways to laugh in even dire circumstances.

For instance, Mowat describes his first combat. Because he has no experience and it seems fitting at the time, he orders a bayonet charge. Afterward, commandos who had watched them say it was the only bayonet charge they had ever seen and that it reminded them of a war movie.

General Montgomery's visit to the troops is humorous. Monty expertly handles a disrespectful comment from an anonymous soldier in a crowd.

The book is no comedy, though. Mowat's humorous touch begins to fade somewhere in the second half of the book. For instance, he describes how a German sniper intentionally wounds a mule, which enrages Mowat and his men. Mowat hates the Germans at that moment. One of the most poignant scenes is where Mowat becomes drunk with a wounded German on a battlefield.

Mowat has many close calls. One time he is shot in the back, but a can of meat in his backpack stops the bullet.

This is an excellent, well-written book. However, I give it 4 stars instead of 5 because the ending is incomplete.

5-0 out of 5 stars Farley Mowat's Account Of Coming Of Age During WW II

Eager and idealistic, Mowat volunteered for service in Canada.
He was comissioned and as a young officer participated in the brutal Italian campaign.
What he saw awakened in him an awareness, never forgotten, of man's potential for heroism, also of his black side and unlimited....."
[from the back cover of the audio cassette case]

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstandingly honest
Outstanding and emotionally wrenching memoir of the Sicilian and early part of the Italian campaigns. The book start off with hijinks and comedy, but progressively descends into despair and terror. Highly recommended. ... Read more

11. Never Cry Wolf : Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 256 Pages (2001-09-13)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$5.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316881791
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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More than a half-century ago the Canadian Wildlife Service assigned 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) and for a friendly Inuit tribe known as the Ihalmiut ("People of the Deer")-is a work that has become cherished by generations of readers, an indelible record of the myths and magic of wild wolves. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (100)

1-0 out of 5 stars Baloney
This book is NOT the true story of life among arctic wolves-- Mr. Mowat spent much, much less time with wolves than he pretends he has in this book, and simply fabricates most of his observations. It takes a special sort of person to endure the frozen wilderness to study arctic wolf behavior at length, and to accept that these beautiful animals are intelligent and amazing killing machines that don't need to fulfill people's desires to view them as non-threatening mouse-eaters. Apparently Mr. Mowat just isn't that special sort of person-- but he is a liar.

4-0 out of 5 stars Superbly written, highly entertaining
Never Cry Wolf is a story of naturalist and biologist Farley Mowat's summer spent studying wolves in the Canadian backcountry in the early 60's.The portrait of the wolves (whom Mowat affectionately dubs George, Angeline, and good uncle Albert) is tender and enthralling. This is a short read - easily finished in one sitting - and is frequently laugh-out-loud hiliarious. However, the validity and truthfulness of the tale has been questioned in the media and by respected researchers with inconclusive results. Despite this, the book provides a moving and beautiful portrait of the wolf. It's worth the read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Seller!
This book was for my daughter, who is an environmental activist/eco warrior.She LOVES the book - it arrived on time, was new and we had no problems with this order.Thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Purchase!
Received my book promptly with no problems and the used book was in great condition.

4-0 out of 5 stars Science can be funny too.
Farley Mowat does a wonderful job of injecting a comedic aspect into his writing of his time spent studying wolves in the arctic. With two chapters left to read, I've no doubt I'll fly through them - all the while with a smile on my face and a giggle escaping here or there. This book is a wonderfully simple read but still includes quite an amount of factoids which are likely new to you. I highly recommend reading this book - it won't take you more than a few days of leisurely reading. I'm considering picking up some of Mowat's other works. ... Read more

12. The Grey Seas Under: The Perilous Rescue Mission of a N.A. Salvage Tug
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 360 Pages (2001-04-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585742406
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Here is one of the great storytellers of our time on the hair-raising rescue missions of a deep-sea salvage tug that saved hundreds of lives during two decades of service.

In Grey Seas Under, Farley Mowat writes passionately of the courage of men and of a small, ocean-going salvage tug, Foundation Franklin. From 1930 until her final voyage in 1948, the stalwart tug's dangerous mission was to rescue sinking ships, first searching for them in perilous waters and then bringing them back to shore. Battered by towering waves, dwarfed by the great ships she towed, blasted by gale-force winds and frozen by squalls of snow and rain, Foundation Franklin and her brave crew saved hundreds of vessels and thousands of lives as they patrolled the North Atlantic, including waters patrolled by U-boats in wartime.

Mowat spent two years gathering this material and sailed on some of the missions he describes. The result is a modern epic-a vigorous, dramatic picture of the eternal battle between men and the cruel sea. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely excellent
We read The serpant's coil first and I thought that this one wasn't as good. I was wrong. The ending was very touching a must read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Gift for hasband
My hasband requsted this book for Christmas. I am please with speed and shipping of this book,and would use this company agan.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Grey Seas Under
Outstanding book; probably one of the best I have read! Puts "The Perfect Storm" in perspective:just all in a day's work for some folks.

5-0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking real-life sea adventures as only Farley Mowat could write
A rusty old hulk is resurrected as a sturdy and seaworthy deep-sea salvage tug. The ship and her crew (at work in the early twentieth century, including World War II) face extraordinary challenges as they attempt to save storm-battered ships and their crews from destruction. It's usually stormy weather that gets a ship into trouble, so the tug spends a lot of time in gales and heavy seas, attempting rescues in the open ocean and amongst reefs closer to shore, rigging huge pumps, cables and ground tackle, even divers. She works under international maritime "no cure - no pay" rules designed to encourage rescue and salvage, even in extreme situations. (If you don't succeed, you get nothing for your efforts, but if you save the ship the payoff is huge.) Written in Farley Mowat's usual easygoing vernacular, this is a must-read for sea adventure buffs.

4-0 out of 5 stars Maritime Salvage Tug
Well, this is a little tough to review because it was not the easiest read. So, unless you really love the sea and stories about tough men working in the scariest of environments, you will have a tough time finishing this book. However, Farley Mowat does capture the essence of what it was like for people to work and travel on the sea in the early 1900's. He has told the story of salvage and rescue at sea through the lens of an old tugboat. The story really engages anyone with a love of the sea and a love of history. I wanted to rate this at 5 stars except I know many readers will have trouble getting to the end of the book. If you love the sea you will love this book. ... Read more

13. Farley: The Life of Farley Mowat
by James King
 Hardcover: Pages (2003)

Asin: B0041WEVQC
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A hard-to-put-down biography of a great writer
There are many sides to Farley Mowat, and this biography toucheson all of them. James King presents Mowat as an ambitious writer, a proud Canadian, a melancholy husband, a mischievous only child, and a passionate environmentalist. In the space of relatively few pages, King describes Mowat's very active life, remarking on every book, every beloved pet dog, many of his travels, the Second World War years, both marriages, and his troubles with publishers and editors.

Did he leave anything out? Well, you can be sure that the Farley his friends and family know is still private, but not completely. This is primarily a book about Mowat's relationships with people, his moods, and his mistakes. It's a "warts and all" biography, but it's written with Canadian politeness --- James King is even-handed and fair. Farley cooperated with King on it, opening up archives of correspondence and submitting to interviews. He made no conditions, and King honored that with a respectful portrait.

Aspiring writers should read this book. Farley had a bumpy but very successful career, starting with a controversial book (People of the Deer) in 1952. He spent the next 30 years trying to identify and master his literary strengths. His editors, his father, and his wife Claire helped him figure it out. If you want a successful writing career, you can learn a lot from this book.

For fans of Farley Mowat, you get to find out how he came to write each book, how well they sold, and which books had the greatest effect on him. (Never Cry Wolf is his best-seller. Sea of Slaughter meant a great deal to him and required a lot of time and emotional strength. The Top of the World trilogy was never taken seriously by his publishers. Etc.) This is a well-written biography of a great man. I highly recommend it. ... Read more

14. Lost in the Barrens
by Farley Mowat
Mass Market Paperback: 208 Pages (1985-02-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$2.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553275259
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Two brothers must face the wilderness with no food and no hope of rescue when their canoe is destroyed by the rapids. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book ignited in me a passion for literature
This was the first book I was ever forced to read by a teacher...30 years ago.To say it ignited in me a passion for literature is nearly an understatement.I can't quite know for sure why it moved me so, but it probably has much to do with passing before my eyes at a time in my life when boyish fantasies of freedom, power, and independence were still fresh tinder to fuel a powerful imagination.In this book, I found escape from the mundane patterns of school, and prepubescence in suburbia.

After I read this, I began a life-long, insatiable hunt for my next literary adventure.My library is now filled with hundreds of books on every subject imaginable, but Lost in the Barrens appears first in my list of books and in my mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read about kids in survival mode
This book about two teenage boys lost in the northern Canadian wilderness is exciting, fun and even gives good ideas of winter wilderness survival.I loved it.Farley Mowat is always a good read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A kids story that stands the test of time
This book was a classic in Canada when I was a kid. The story is still a good one.There is a some concern about other tribes being threatening but it was a real concern to these people and in the end everyone ends up being friends.

A great kids book.My 8 year old loved it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing story!
A 6th grade teacher read this book to our class and had us all captivated. She presented the book to us by it's alternative title "Two against the north". I read this book again recently as an adult and was just as captivated by the fantastic tale of determination, friendship and survival. This is one fantastic story that can be enjoyed by all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lost in the Barrens is a Canadian wilderness adventure...
Two boys get lost in the barrens of Canada and find a way to survive the winter - Actually two movies have been made from this story: Lost in the Barrens, and Lost in the Barrens II.There is adventure, danger, and excitement in addition to the story being informative and educational.A good read for boys and girls alike. ... Read more

15. Bay of Spirits: A Love Story (Globe and Mail Best Books)
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 432 Pages (2009-10-13)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.73
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0771064675
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In 1957, Farley Mowat shipped out aboard one of Newfoundland’s famous coastal steamers, tramping from outport to outport along the southwest coast. The indomitable spirit of the people and the bleak beauty of the landscape would lure him back again and again over theyears. In the process of falling in love with a people and a place, Mowat also met the woman who would be the great love of his life.

A stunningly beautiful and talented young artist, Claire Wheeler insouciantly climbed aboard Farley’s beloved but jinxed schooner as it lay on the St. Pierre docks, once again in a cradle for repairs, and changed both their lives forever. This is the story of that love affair, of summers spent sailing the Newfoundland coast, and of their decision to start their life together in Burgeo, one of the province’s last remaining outports. It is also an unforgettable portrait of the last of the outport people and a way of life that had survived for centuries but was now passing forever.

Affectionate, unsentimental, this is a burnished gem from an undiminished talent.

I was inside my vessel painting the cabin when I heard the sounds of a scuffle nearby. I poked my head out the companionway in time to see a lithesome young woman swarming up the ladder which leaned against Happy Adventure’s flank. Whining expectantly, the shipyard dog was endeavouring to follow this attractive stranger. I could see why. As slim and graceful as a ballet dancer (which, I would later learn, was one of her avocations), she appeared to be wearing a gleaming golden helmet (her own smoothly bobbed head of hair) and was as radiantly lovely as any Saxon goddess. I invited her aboard, while pushing the dog down the ladder.

“That’s only Blanche,” I reassured my visitor. “He won’t bite. He’s just, uh . . . being friendly.”

“That’s nice to know,” she said sweetly. Then she smiled . . . and I was lost.

–From Bay of Spirits

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars A book with interesting parts but lacking in integrity
Farley Mowat writes well and his material is usually interesting. I don't like his mix of the personal and the "antropologic" in this tale of adultery. I found it disingenuous that on page 79 (hardcover edition) he reveals:"Claire had to return to Toronto and her job. I was a married man...."Then a few pages later, he gives Claire's response to his phone call:"I never expected to hear your voice once we were back in Ontario. I ... was sure it could never be more than a summer romance ... when you were a man with two small children."Well, eventually they found a way. When Mowat's wife refused him a divorce, he and Claire decided tocall themselves man and wife and live "common law." It's ironic that in the chapter entitled "Seduction," Mowat tells how he reported a large suspicious vessel that refused to identify itself to the Canadian authorities, who obligingly sent a bomber to check out the vessel-- which still refused to reply--and then got the US Navy to send a destroyer to stop the vessel. The ship was the yacht of an otherwise low-profile millionaire who had skipped the paperwork and sailed into Canadian waters to do some illegal salmon fishing. Mowat waxes over the millionaire's "arrogance" in not following the legalities; Mowat makes disparaging comments on the yacht's release and accusingly mentions the great wealth of the yacht's owner as the deciding factor. Mowat's indignationis comical and ironic here. Was the yacht owner so different from Mowat, who ignored the paperwork that would make his "marriage" to Claire legal? And Mowat doesn'tcondemn another ship's official who refused to let him and Claire share a cabin because they didn't have a marriage license, but reversed himself when Mowat announced he wanted their fares refunded. So it was okay when money talked for "the Mowats," but not okay when it talked for the yacht owner. As another reviewer mentioned, this double standard casts a pall on the story--not to mention Mowat's integrity. This is a book that Mowat couldn't have written at the time the events were happening--too much social disapproval then. Nor do I think he would have included the oft-repeated swear word "she-c..t," which even today is very rarely seen in print.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "natural" love story
Farley Mowat writes a moving story about how he met his wife Claire by accident while trying to escape a vicious dog, and, in doing so, also "kills two birds with one stone" by portraying the colorful, insular people of Newfoundland in the 1950's as well as the inhabitants of the almost unheard of French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon in the North Atlantic off the coast of St. John, NF. I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy learning about new places and people, and at the same time would want to curl up witha well-written love story.

3-0 out of 5 stars A tale of two loves...but you'll want more of both.
This is the tale of two love stories -- one covered extensively, one almost glossed over by books' end.

Farley Mowat came to Newfoundland in the early 1960s and fell in love, both with the land and its people, and with a young artist named Claire Wheeler.It's the former that Mowat dwells upon the most in this book, and as a reader I left frustrated because we learn so comparatively little about Claire and about their life together.It takes 1/3 of the book for Mowat to reveal that he was married when he met Claire, and that the the tug of his family -- including two sons -- delayed his eventual divorce.His former family is dismissed in a paragraph.

Having faced the music, Mowat settles down with Claire aboard his famously unseaworthy boat, "Happy Adventure", the star the classic "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float." Readers of "The Boat" will be startled by anecdotes, names and dates changing from one book to another.It gives creedence to the charge leveled against Mowat that he never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.

Ultimately this lovely book covers a period of but seven years, and ends just after Mowat's futile attempt to stop the people of his adopted home of Burgeo from killing a whale that has become trapped in a tidal pond.The whale died, the locals were savaged by the press, and the Mowats decided it was time to leave Burgeo and venture in Happy Adventure to Expo 67 (a voyage that nearly ended many times, if "The Boat" is to be believed.)

This is a wonderful book but I wanted more -- what happened to Happy Adventure?What happened to Mowat's sons?Where did they settle after the Expo trip?Much has happened between 1967 and now! -- I hope to hear more about the Mowat's voyages though these most interesting times.

5-0 out of 5 stars Storm-tossed and falling in love - with a place and a woman
Farley Mowat's notion of an idyllic day's sail more often than not involves heavy seas in shallow, rocky waters, accompanied by gale force winds, pelting rain and/or pea-soup fog, in a leaky boat with engine issues.

Therefore armchair adventurers will enjoy this memoir of Mowat's 1960s love affair with "a special woman and a special world" as much as romantic sorts looking for travel among the bygone fishing villages of Newfoundland.

Readers familiar with Mowat, however, will know there must be bitter with the sweet. The Newfie fishing communities, fiercely independent and attached to their way of life like limpets to a rock, were in serious decline by the 1960s. The teeming schools of fish had disappeared under the relentless onslaught of the big fishing operations and the government wanted to resettle the fishermen in factory towns, bringing Newfoundland (which had only joined Canada in 1949) squarely into the 20th century.

The book opens with Mowat's harrowing and exhilarating trip aboard a 200-foot coastal steamer, one of six (now gone), which took freight and passengers to the outposts of Newfoundland, their main contact with the world.

"Newfoundland is of the sea. A mighty granite stopper thrust into the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, its coasts present more than five thousand miles of rocky headlands, bays, capes, and fiords to the sweep of the Atlantic. Everywhere hidden reefs, which are called, with dreadful explicitness, sunkers, wait to rip open the bellies of unwary vessels."

Though Mowat saw little of the coast, due to foul weather and impenetrable fog, he was hooked. He bought a fish-slimed schooner, renamed it Happy Adventure and arranged to have it refitted for cruising.

But, flying in to reclaim his refurbished boat, he makes a dismaying discovery. "My wishes had conflicted with centuries of tradition, which dictated that space allotted to people aboard a boat must be kept to the irreducible minimum so as to leave as much room as possible for fish."

Then, on its maiden voyage the boat sprung a leak, a serious leak. The bilge pump jammed, the fog rolled in, water engulfed the engine and they (Mowat and his friend and longtime publisher, Jack McClelland) luckily ran aground. Next trip out they realized they should have had the compass adjusted while fixing the leak.

It was while working on Happy Adventure that Mowat met Claire Wheeler, a Toronto artist. It was love at first sight, but after several mostly idyllic (including the requisite sprinkle of sudden storms, engine troubles and fog) the pair go their separate ways. Mowat was already married, with two small children, a fact he had previously failed to mention to the reader and which naturally casts a bit of a pall.

Though Mowat makes no excuses, his friends and family - and hers too - seem remarkably enthusiastic about the romance. Either his first marriage was something awful, which does not seem the case, or his memory has reshaped itself. Eventually Mowat tells his wife and goes off with Claire.

They take up residence in Burgeo, Newfoundland, and continue spending summers sailing the coast and meeting its people. While a few communities are insular and suspicious, most are immediately hospitable, inviting the couple into their homes for meals, drink, stories and, when called for, a bed.

Arriving in Francois (Fransway) during a Force 7 gale, he and Claire are taken in by a friend who fed them rabbit soup and roast caribou. Mowat then "learned that it would be necessary for Les to take us to visit every single one of the family connections to show he and Carol weren't trying to hoard us. Visitors had to be shared, just like everything else in an outpost."

The anecdotes and tall tales Mowat collects form an endlessly fascinating portrait of people's work lives, bravery, quirks, superstitions, and customs. These are seamlessly complemented by historical research and interviews, documenting the long and inexorable decline of a proud, hardscrabble way of life. There is regret and sadness, but no self-pity among the Newfies.

Mowat has written more than 40 books, mostly about the people, places, creatures and history of a rapidly disappearing natural world. While this book meanders more than some, his customary passion, humor and eloquence draw the reader into his world.

But it's a world in which he remains an outsider. He is reminded of this from time to time, but the senseless killing of a lone whale (documented in "A Whale for the Killing") stranded in a nearby lake, ends the book and the Mowats' happy sojourn in Burgeo. Though many disapproved of the louts who slaughtered the whale for sport, more disapproved of Mowats' actions in bringing the press down upon them.

A postscript lists other Mowat Newfoundland books, including "This Rock Within the Sea" "Sea of Slaughter," and "The Farfarers." "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float" describes his restoration of the Happy Adventure. ... Read more

16. Farley Mowat (Canadian writers ; no. 14)
by Alec Lucas
 Paperback: 64 Pages (1976)

Isbn: 077109616X
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17. Owls in the Family
by Farley Mowat
Hardcover: 107 Pages (1961)

Asin: B003CTF4FM
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars terrific service
The condition of the book was just as they described it, and instead of using the slowest & cheapest shipping, they used priority mail, so I got it in time for my grandson's birthday--terrific service!Thank you

5-0 out of 5 stars laugh out loud funny
This book expands a chapter out of the author's book "A Dog Who Wouldn't Be" into a whole book. I remembered reading the other book as a kid (I'm 50 now) and wanted to read something else by the same author.It was funny enough to make me laugh out loud.The author uses very vivid descriptions that create a great mental picture. I would recommend this book to anyone lower teens and above (uses big words).You might want to read it to someone younger (my daughter loved it when I read it to her).

5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!!
I have read most of Farley Mowat's books and have enjoyed them all.I started reading The Dog Who Wouldn't Be to my granddaughters, ages 6 & 7, but the humor is so delightfully understated, I had to do a lot of translating, so I ordered Owls in the Family, and it reads wonderfully for children.They loved hearing about owls and wanted to know more, so we found books at the library and visited a local nature center to observe owls.It was an opportunity for them to see how humans and animals interact, and learn something about our natural world.I highly recommend it!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A great realoud book for children
I read this book to my second grade class and they were enthralled. I later learned our school library does not have a copy and the librarian had never heard of it. As a graduation gift I gave my students their own copy and asked them to read it themselves over the summer and share the magic with their families and friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud fun for all ages
My kids laughed out loud as they read about a young nature-loving boy w/ too many pets and his long-suffering parents who allow him to adopt two owls.They learned a lot too - about owls, northern Canada and a way of life from the not-too distant past.Very Gerald Durrell-ish in style and content.Suitable for young listeners (some pictures in our edition helped even our 3 yr old enjoy this) and older readers. ... Read more

18. The Serpent's Coil
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 192 Pages (2001-04-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$34.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585742872
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Here is one of the great storytellers of our time reporting the hair-raising rescue missions of a deep-sea salvage tug that saved hundreds of lives during two decades of service.

In Grey Seas Under, Farley Mowat writes passionately of the courage of men and of a small, ocean-going salvage tug, Foundation Franklin. From 1930 until her final voyage in 1948, the stalwart tug's dangerous mission was to rescue sinking ships, first searching for them in perilous waters and then bringing them back to shore. Battered by towering waves, dwarfed by the great ships she towed, blasted by gale-force winds and frozen by squalls of snow and rain, Foundation Franklin and her brave crew saved hundreds of vessels and thousands of lives as they patrolled the North Atlantic, including waters patrolled by U-boats in wartime.

Mowat spent two years gathering this material and sailed on some of the missions he describes. The result is a modern epic-a vigorous, dramatic picture of the eternal battle between men and the cruel sea. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gift,
My hasband requsted this book for Christmas. I am please with speed and shipping of this book,and would use this company agan.

5-0 out of 5 stars this one is an exciting ride all the way!!
i was given this book in 1964 and started reading it at about 9pm and didn`t finish until 5am.i`ve never forgotten it and thought i would see if it was still in print and wow! they are still printing it. (in 2001) i reread it and it is still one of the most exciting books and timeless..both men and women will like it.read it and enjoy, marti

4-0 out of 5 stars The Liberty Ship Leicester and her ill fated cruise.
What a story!The ads on the back state this to be the predecessor of the Perfect Storm.I don't think that is the case but the story is great.The Leicester leaves London, and rides out two hurricanes.At the end of the second hurricane-the ballast shifts and the ship takes on a terrible list.The crew rides out the hurricane on her, and then hails two other freighters and abandons ship.The ship then travels on a southerly direction until spotted by a salvage tug.This and another salvage tug take Leicester to Bermuda where she endures another hurricane and is beached with the salvage tug.The last chapter details the salvage of both the ship and tug.This was indeed the ship that wouldn't sink.
This is a nice little story that will keep the reader's interest.
A Perfect Storm is so much more dramatic that I wouldn't rate this book as highly as that.It is an interesting read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The ship who wouldn�t sink
Farley Mowat had already written a book titled "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float," so he could very easily have called this volume, "The Ship Who Wouldn't Sink."

"The Serpent's Coil" is a companion book to "Grey Seas Under" and continues the story of ocean-going salvage tug operations in the Atlantic."Grey Seas Under" chronicled the adventures of the tugboat `Foundation Franklin' before and during World War II."The Serpent's Coil" takes place after the war and tells the tale of ships battered by the consuming fury of not one but three hurricanes (the "serpent's coil" of the title) in the autumn of 1948.

The author blends mystery, life-and-death adventure, and humor in his tale of rescue and salvage operations on `the Great Western Ocean.'The mystery centers around the disappearance of so many ex-wartime Liberty freighters in mid-ocean.Most of them were in ballast when they vanished, and it was assumed but never proven that shifting ballast caused the freighters to turn turtle and sink so rapidly that no message could be transmitted on the `how' or `why' of their plight.

`Leicester' was an ex-Liberty freighter fitted out in peace-time rig, newly under the command of Captain Hamish Lawson.He met his ship for the first time while she was taking ballast---"a sludge of sand and gravel dredged from the bottom of the [Thames]"---in preparation for a voyage to New York. Lawson had originally been scheduled to take command of another ex-Liberty freighter (called Sam-ships by the sailors, because they were built for the wartime Lend Lease program by `Uncle Sam'), but the `Samkey' had disappeared on route to Cuba."'Leicester' was the twin sister to `Samkey'; built in the same yards, to the identical design.The only difference was that she was younger by a year..."

Captain Lawson's freighter was halfway between Ireland and Nova Scotia on the Great Circle route to New York when the first storm struck.`Leicester' rolled more than her Master liked, but she weathered the gale easily enough.His main worry was the ship's malfunctioning radio, without which he couldn't receive weather reports or transmit his own position.The Atlantic was not a good place to be in the middle of the hurricane season, without a radio.

Sure enough on the morning of September 14th, the crew of the `Leicester' found themselves sailing under another threatening sky:

"Lawson watched the ominous black arch [of the hurricane bar] for a quarter of an hour, and even during this short interval it seemed to grow, humping up from the horizon, spreading east and west.Above it, and around the hemisphere of sky, the high clouds were thickening, growing more opaque.A light, aimless breeze that seemed to come erratically from every point of the compass had begun to play about the ship.Lawson noticed that there were no gulls or other seabirds anywhere in sight."

The Sam-ship tried to dodge the hurricane, but it was much too late for such maneuvers. Within the hour, `Leicester' found herself enmeshed in the roaring hell of "The Serpent's Coil."

Mowat certainly knows how to tell a suspenseful sea story!The rest of his book describes the travails of `Leicester' as she founders but does not sink amidst the coils of the first hurricane.Her adventures afterward are entwined with those of the salvage and rescue tugs, `Foundation Lillian' and `Foundation Josephine,' plus another, even more savage hurricane that struck while the Sam-ship lay helplessly at what was supposed to be a safe mooring.

"The Serpent's Coil" and its even more exciting companion, "Grey Seas Under" are gripping testaments to the daring and skill of Canada's master seamen.Even the sections of these books that were strictly concerned with salvage operations kept me reading ahead at full steam.

5-0 out of 5 stars So Realistic you feel the spray of the salt off the waves.
Farley Mowat ,The Dean of the Canadian outdoor Writers, at the top of his form.If you've ever wondered what it was like to work on an Ocean going Tug Boat this is the book for you. Mr. Mowat uses his wartime experienceand makes the men and vessels seem to have a life of their own. It's alldone in a style that make putting this book down next to impossible. Besure to have a turtleneck sweater and a steaming mug of Grog availablebecause as you read this account of Maritime Tug's out of Canada you'll bechilled to the bone but kept warm by rapidly turning pages. ... Read more

19. Sea of Slaughter
by Farley Mowat
Mass Market Paperback: 496 Pages (1997-07-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0770422780
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Farley Mowat, bestselling author of Never Cry Wolf, A Whale for the Killing, and The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, calls Seal of Slaughter his most important work...a book he felt compelled to write after witnessing the drastic decline in the rich diversity of wildlife along the Northeastern seaboard.

Farley Mowat does not tell of the extinction of one species.His unforgettable narrative tells of the devastation of all different types of animal life from a region where the forests once teemed with game, where the fish could be scooped up with baskets...and where the Eskimo curlew fell in clouds of thousands to sportsmen who used them for target practice before turning their guns to clay pigeons.

With his unique storytelling gift, Farley Mowat details why some creatures, such as the gentle penguin-like great auk, have vanished forever.And he astounds us with his account of the killing that continues--of wolf and whale, seal and bear, fish and fowl.Monumental in scope, chilling in its impact, Sea of Slaughter is a warning, a vision, and a powerful testament for preserving the living grandeur fast disappearing from our world. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mowat at his best
What is really happening to species in the oceans?Why have we finally fotten some international controls in place?Read this book and you will find out why.At points it is sickening and not for the faint of heart, but it is LIFE not only for the mammals, but for humans also.It is the truth he speaks, and every word he writes. This book is for people who either put their heads in the sand and don't want to know what is going on in the world, and gives fuel and puts the smoking gun into the hands of those willing to speak out and change things for the better.

4-0 out of 5 stars A shaking litany of slaughter by humans
This book should be read by everyone who cares about animals. It is a sad litany of what humans can do in search of greed. Mowatt has assembled facts and figures that bring to life the slaughter of species that is still going on. One wonders what could have been done and what still can be done to stop more animal slaughter.
SOS is at once depressing and then an awakening to us all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Slaughter for Profit
Passionate, well-written account of what has become of animal life in North America since the arrival of the Europeans in the early 1500's.Amazing. I will never look at the world in the same way.Farley Mowat, focusing on the North-east of North America, paints a vivid picture of what animal life was like from 1500 to the present, frequently quoting those who saw it in its near natural state hundreds of years ago -- the great awk, the white bear, the buffalo, the whales, the dolphins, the seals.The European intruders saw this great abundance of life as an opportunity for profit, saw the millions of whales as so many tons of train oil.From one chapter to the next, the animal "nations" were slaughtered with no thought of the future, until there was no more profit to be made."Sea of Slaughter", as sad and painful as it is, is a must-read book.A sampling of Farley Mowat's words (I am sure he won't mind):

"So ends the story of how the Sea of Whales became a Sea of Slaughter as, one by one, from the greatest to the least, each in turn according to its monetary worth, the several cetacean nations perished in a roaring holocaust fuelled by human avarice.
Now that there are no longer enough of them remaining to be of any significant commercial value, the fires that consumed their kinds are burning down.But it is unlikely -- our instincts being what they are -- that even the far flung scattering of survivors will ever be secure from our rapacity unless, and until, they receive worldwide protection.
Surely this is the least we can do to make atonement for the evil we have done to them.And it WAS evil -- of that, make no mistake."

5-0 out of 5 stars Will change your worldview forever
This book goes about the most heart-wrenching task - noting all the animals we've killed in North America - with none of the usual environmentalist emotional sentimentality. Mowat logically and systematically provides evidence of our wholesale slaughter by categories (land, sea, air) and species. Incredibly well written , and some of the first person historical accounts he unearths are shocking and shameful. This book will move you, anger you, and stay with you. Look in the sky - how many birds do you see? This book provides the sad answer why.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps you�re not the slaughtering kind�
Since reading Mowat's "Sea of Slaughter," I can't get a certain picture out of my mind. It is of a sandy ocean beach, miles and miles long, where tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of morse came to socialize every summer until the middle of last century. The morse, or northern walrus, was a stupendous animal, of impressive bearing: a veritable lion of the sea. Yet it comes no more to those grounds, once the largest colony of its kind, out on Canada's Magdalene Islands, off the coast of Québec.

To think that the morse were just a side-show to it all. To think that eventually, with the same energy and relentless mechanical force, we would come to decimate the northern fishery more or less entirely, leaving thousands of perplexed fisher folk stranded in coastal villages, wondering perhaps, just where that many fish could possibly have gone.

On land, as in the water, nature's bounty was scarcely less prolific, the European's first reaction, scarcely less horrendous. Could this be the true, unknown history of North America, lying behind and directly concerning those early pilots and navigators like Cabot and Columbus. 400 or more years of unbelievably short-sighted culling of mighty herds, whether they were whales or bison or a hundred other species of birds and mammals known to have been hunted to the last. This is Mowat's sad chronicle. This is his portrait of what one day perhaps, will generally be known and accepted as history. And the only thing that may stop us is that we find we really don't want to ever learn this sort of truth.

Besides being a remarkable contribution to the literature of ecology and environment, this is also one of Mowat's finest personal efforts. You can see by the very nature of the material that it took a being of remarkable strength just to tackle a project like this, let alone bring it to a conclusion. It's probably true that one can prepare all one's life for just one event. In Mowat's case, without negating any other part of his remarkable œuvre, this may just be it. ... Read more

20. No Man's River
by Farley Mowat
Paperback: 320 Pages (2005-12-16)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$19.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00119M2SC
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
With No Man’s River, Farley Mowat has penned his best Arctic tale in years. This book chronicles his life among Metis trappers and native people as they struggle to eke out a living in a brutal environment. In the spring of 1947, putting the death and devastation of WWII behind him, Mowat joined a scientific expedition. In the remote reaches of Manitoba, he witnessed an Eskimo population ravaged by starvation and disease brought about by the white man. In his efforts to provide the natives with some of the assistance that the government failed to provide, Mowat set out on an arduous journey that collided with one of nature’s most arresting phenomena—the migration of the Arctic’s caribou herds. Mowat was based at Windy Post with a Metis trapper and two Ihalmiut children. A young girl, known as Rita, is painted with special vividness—checking the trap lines with the men, riding atop a sled, smoking a tiny pipe. Farley returns to the North two decades later and discovers the tragic fate that befell her. Combining his exquisite portraits with awe-inspiring passages on the power of nature, No Man’s River is another riveting memoir from one of North America’s most beloved writers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars NO Man's River
It has been a long time since i have enjoyed a book as much as those written by Farley Mowat. His respect for native cultures and his skill at describing their environment are what make these books so enjoyable and interesting. I will read all of his works--it is well worth the time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing, as always
No matter how many books he writes, Farley Mowat continues to amaze his fans. His non-fiction is never dry or uninspiring, though he's a talented fiction writer as well, and this faithful reader of his work is certainly not disappointed. Thank you again, Mr. Mowat for your great writing. It is truly appreciated!
Chrissy K. McVay

5-0 out of 5 stars A priceless look into a word that is probably gone forever.
A book I could not put down. It is a well written insight into a world that none of us will ever experience. Mr. Mowat is a great story teller and anational treasure. Anyone who is interested in the least about people and lands of the north must read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another outstanding book by Farley Mowat
Farley Mowat has been one of my favorite authors since I was in 6th grade in the early 1960s. I ordered a copy of "Two Against the North" from the Arrow Book Club and read it over and over. The story of two boys from different cultures trying to survive winter in the barrens was riveting to me, a gal firmly stuck in the suburbs. Mowat's descriptions of glacial landforms in that book remained with me and were recalled with every earth science and geology lesson I ever took. (The book can be found in some libraries under the title "Lost in the Barrens"--a great read for a middle schooler curious about the world outside familiar places.) Part of what I loved about No Man's River was that the journeys described were clearly the basis for many aspects of "Lost in the Barrens"--kind of like an echo of an old favorite. Mowat is the consummate story teller--reading his books makes you want to sit around a campfire with him for several hours hearing spin his yarns. One of my favorite quotes comes from him--"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story." No Man's River has jaw-dropping adventure as well as thought provoking commentary on the clash of vastly different cultures. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Tough Guy in a Tough Land
Readers can count this book as one more captivating true tale of Canada's far north, told by its best-read authority.The young Farley Mowat, returning disillusioned from the War in 1947 and thinking to become a biologist, joined with a taxonomist on a collecting "scientific" expedition into the Barren Lands of Northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan.The headstrong 26 year old was improbably paired up with a disciplined naturalist of the old school, who killed and skinned every animal he could shoot, poison or trap.After a while, Farley, having seen enough killing in the war, became disillusioned with this approach to appreciating the wonders of nature, and deserted his post in favor of exploring the largely uninhabited territory in the company of an Indian half-breed, Charles Schweder.His real desire was to contact the "People of the Deer,"the Imhalmiut.These people came to be idealized in Farley's mind as a people "uncontaminated with the murderous aberrations of civilized man."

Mowat gives a clear picture of the hardships encountered by the few inhabitants of this harsh landscape.By the time of the expedition, the Imhalmiut had dwindled to only a few scattered bands, having been nearly wiped out in a succession of epidemics.Farley tells of the well-intended but sporadic and largely ineffectual aid given to them by the Canadian government and its minions, and how Schweder had been traumatized by his experience in a partially successful rescue attempt he had made the year previous.His rescue of a six year old replacement for his child bride, dead of starvation,presents the reader (and Mowat) with a thought- provoking moral dilemma.So much for the myth of the noble savage...

For me, though, the message of the book was how uncaring and ruthless "Mother Nature" really is, and how down and dirty a bare-handed struggle it is.He, Thoreau-like, at one point meticulously gives a complete list of the things they chose to carry on their epic trip down an unmapped river system:guns and ammo, flour, sugar, baking soda, canned food, gasoline and oil for their outboard motor, tarps and tents.Even with all these products of Western technology, their trip was hair-raising and nearly disastrous.And the bugs!

For such a rough subject, this turns out to be an engrossing tale and hard to put down.On the other hand, the map requires a magnifying glass to read and there are no illustrations.I really appreciated, though, the last chapter, in which he follows up on the fate of the characters he encountered, giving the reader some "closure" as it is disgustingly called these days.

I found it a little curious, though, that Mowat felt the need to apologize in a postscript for his use of some now politically incorrect words, such as Indian, half-breed, and Eskimo.This is largely a story of the encounters of people with different cultures, of different races, viewed through eyes that are quite a bit more honest than is usually tolerated by the demagogues and girly-men of our sensitive time. ... Read more

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