Farley Mowat

Biografie şi Bibliografie

Farley McGill Mowat, OC (born May 12, 1921 in Belleville, Ontario) is a conservationist and one of Canada's most widely-read authors.

Many of his most popular works have been memoirs of his childhood, his war service, and his work as a naturalist. His works have been translated into 52 languages and he has sold more than 14 million books. He achieved fame with the publication of his books on the Canadian North, such as People of the Deer (1952) and Never Cry Wolf, (1963).[1] The latter, an account of his experiences with wolves in the Arctic, was made into a film, released in 1983.

Mowat's advocacy for environmental causes, and a writing style that "never let[s] the facts get in the way of the truth," have earned him both praise and criticism: "few readers remain neutral." Nevertheless, his influence is undeniable: Never Cry Wolf is credited with shifting the mythology and fear of wolves. His stories are fast-paced, gripping, personal, and conversational. Descriptions of Mowat refer to his "commitment to ideals," "poetic descriptions and vivid images," but also to his strong antipathies, which provoke "ridicule, lampoons and at times, evangelical condemnation."

Literary career

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Returning to Canada after the war, Mowat studied biology at the University of Toronto. During a field trip to Northern Canada, Mowat became outraged at the plight of the Ihalmiut, a Caribou Inuit band, which he attributed to misunderstanding by whites. His outrage led him to publish his first novel, People of the Deer (1952). This book made Mowat into a literary celebrity and contributed to the shift in the Canadian government's Inuit policy: the government began shipping meat and dry goods to a people they previously denied existed.

This work was followed by a Governor General's Award-winning children's book, Lost in the Barrens (1956), which was about two teenagers — one white, one Cree — lost in the Arctic. The children are able to combine their skills to survive for part of the winter, but ultimately, they almost die before being saved by an Inuit boy whose knowledge of the Arctic supplements their skills.

Mowat followed up these works with a series of personal memoirs. The Regiment (1955) is a skillful and — unusual for military regimental histories of that era — highly readable account of the regiment he had served in during the Second World War. The Dog Who Wouldn't Be (1957) and Owls in the Family (1961) are humorous memoirs about his childhood.

During this period, Mowat also wrote two non-fiction accounts of the exploits of salvage tugs belonging to Foundation Maritime. The first, The Grey Seas Under (1958), chronicles the career of the tug Foundation Franklin, and the second, The Serpent's Coil (1961), chronicles the rescue of the British freighter Leicester in the face of two hurricanes by the tugs Foundation Josephine and Foundation Lillian.

In 1963, Mowat wrote a possibly fictionalised account of his experiences in the Canadian Arctic with Arctic wolves entitled Never Cry Wolf, which is thought to have been instrumental in changing popular attitudes on the canids. The work and its claims has been criticised.

Mowat then went through a phase of being very interested in Viking voyages to Canada, which resulted in the books West-Viking (1965), a controversial and largely debunked analysis of the Norse sagas trying to pin their accounts to specific Canadian geography, and The Curse of the Viking Grave (1968).

Mowat then moved to Burgeo, Newfoundland, where he lived for 8 years. He published three books describing his evolving view of his Newfoundland neighbours: in The Rock Within the Sea (1968), he presents Newfoundlanders as a heroic people uncorrupted by modern technology; The Boat Who Wouldn't Float (1969) reflects his disillusionment with a few Newfoundlanders; and, completing his disillusionment, A Whale for the Killing (1972) presents the shooting of a trapped and doomed whale as an inhumane tragedy. He was also co-author for the 1981 film version with Peter Strauss and Richard Widmark.

Mowat published a denunciation of "the destruction of animal life in the north Atlantic" entitled Sea of Slaughter in 1984. In 1985, as a part of the promotional tour for this book, Mowat accepted an invitation to speak at a university in Chico, California. However, U.S. customs officials at Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto denied Mowat entry to the United States. They wouldn't tell him why specifically, but did tell him that it was because of a security file about him that indicated he should be denied entry "for violating any one of 33 statutes" (which ranged from being a member of the Communist Party to being a member of several other radical groups). The result was a media circus, which brought worldwide attention to Mowat. The negative publicity eventually forced the Reagan Administration to decide that Mowat was free to visit the U.S., but Mowat, peeved by being initially refused, declined. Mowat speculated on the reasons why he was refused entry to the U.S. in his 1985 book, My Discovery of America.

Then, Mowat became very interested in Dian Fossey, the American ethologist who studied gorillas and who was brutally murdered in Rwanda in 1985. Mowat published two books about Fossey: Virunga: The Passion of Dian Fossey (1987) and Woman in the Mists (1987) (an allusion to Fossey's book Gorilla in the Mists (1983)).

In the 1990s and 2000s, Mowat's works have mainly consisted of recombinations of themes he had previously dealt with. He returns to his World War II military service in My Father's Son (1992), and to his childhood in Born Naked (1993). He returns to the Canadian Arctic in High Latitudes: An Arctic Journey (2002) (an account of a 1966 trek in northern Canada) and No Man's River (2004) (an account of an Arctic adventure he took amongst the Ihalmiut in 1947). In Rescue the Earth: Conversations (1990), Mowat continued his work as an environmental advocate. In The Farfarers (2000), Mowat returned to the theme of pre-Columbian interactions between Europe and North America. In Bay of Spirits: A Love Story (2006) he returns to stories from his travels to St. Pierre and the southwest coast of Newfoundland in the early 1960s. These events have already led to This Rock Within the Sea: A Heritage Lost (1968), The Boat Who Wouldn't Float (1969), and A Whale for the Killing (1972). However, the 2006 effort adds many new personal details as well as fresh accounts of sailing the southwest coast and meeting its inhabitants that were not included in the previous works from this time period in his life.

He and his wife Claire currently live in Port Hope, Ontario. They spend their summers on a farm in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.


The Toronto Star has written that Mowat's memoirs are at least partially fictional. In a 1968 interview with CBC Radio, Farley admitted that he doesn't let the facts get in the way of the truth (Canada Reads). Once, when Mowat said that he had spent two summers and a winter studying wolves, the Toronto Star wrote that Mowat had only spent 90 hours studying the wolves.[citation needed]

A not-unbiased article by John Goddard in the May 1996 issue of Saturday Night lays out a somewhat more in-depth criticism of Farley's celebrated works, especially Never Cry Wolf. In his article, "A Real Whopper," he purported to poke many holes in Mowat's claim that the book was non-fictional. He wrote, "As for the authenticity of his wolf story, he virtually abandoned his wolf-den observations after less than four weeks." Mowat denied Goddard's criticisms but allegedly did not refute specific accusations. Canadian Wildlife Federation official Frank Banfield, in a 1964 article published in the Canadian Field-Naturalist, compared Mowat's 1963 bestseller to Little Red Riding Hood, stating, "I hope that readers of "Never Cry Wolf" will realize that both stories have about the same factual content." L. David Mech, a wolf expert, stated that Mowat is no scientist and that in all his studies, he had never encountered a wolf pack which primarily subsisted on small prey as shown in Mowat's book.

Awards and honours

Farley Mowat was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship RV Farley Mowat was named in honour of him, and he frequently visits it to assist its mission, and has also provided financial support to the group.[8]


Mowat is a strong supporter of the Green Party of Canada, and a close friend of leader Elizabeth May. The party sent a direct mail fundraising appeal in his name in June 2007. In 2007 Mowat became a Patron of the Nova Scotia Nature Trust by donating over 200 acres (0.81 km2) of his land in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to the Nature Trust.

Writings by Farley Mowat

    * People of the Deer (1952; revised 1975) ISBN 0-89190-818-8
    * The Regiment (1955) ISBN 0-7710-6575-2
    * Lost in the Barrens (1956) ISBN 0-553-27525-9
    * The Dog Who Wouldn't Be (1957) ISBN 0-553-27928-9
    * Coppermine Journey: An Account of a Great Adventure (1958)
    * Grey Seas Under: The Perilous Rescue Missions of a North Atlantic Salvage Tug (1959) LCC 58-11440
    * The Desperate People (1959; revised 1999)LCC 59-13733
    * Ordeal by Ice (1960)
    * Owls in the Family (1961)LCC 62-7169
    * The Serpent's Coil: An Incredible Story of Hurricane-Battered ships the Heroic Men Who Fought to Save Them (1961)
    * The Black Joke (1962) LCC 63-13462
    * Never Cry Wolf (1963) LCC 63-19169 filmed in 1983 ISBN 1-55890-281-3
    * West-Viking (1965) LCC 65-20746
    * The Curse of the Viking Grave (1966) ISBN 0-553-27525-9
    * Canada North (1967)
    * The Polar Passion (1967)
    * This Rock Within the Sea: A Heritage Lost (1968) LCC 69-12137
    * The Boat Who Wouldn't Float (1969) ISBN 0-553-27788-X
    * The Siberians (1970) ISBN 0-1400-3456-0
    * Sibir: My Discovery of Siberia (1970)
    * A Whale for the Killing (1972) ISBN 0-7710-6570-1
    * Tundra: Selections from the Great Accounts of Arctic Land Voyages (1973) ISBN 0-7710-6627-9
    * Wake of the Great Sealers (1973) LCC 73-14315
    * The Snow Walker (1975) ISBN 0-7704-2209-8 short story Walk Well, My Brother filmed in 2003 ISBN 1-59241-410-9
    * Death of a People-the Ihalmiut (1975)
    * Canada North Now: The Great Betrayal (1976) ISBN 0-7710-6596-5
    * And No Birds Sang (1979) ISBN 0-316-58695-1
    * World of Farley Mowat (1980) ISBN 0-316-58689-7
    * Sea of Slaughter (1984) 0-87113-013-0
    * My Discovery of America (1985) ISBN 0-87113-050-5
    * Virunga: The Passion of Dian Fossey (1987)
    * Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey (1987) ISBN 0-446-51360-1
    * The New Founde Land (1989) ISBN 0-7710-6689-9
    * Rescue the Earth!: Conversations with the Green Crusaders (1990) ISBN 0-7710-6684-8
    * My Father's Son (1993) ISBN 0-395-65029-1
    * Born Naked (1994) ISBN 0-395-73528-9
    * Aftermath: Travels in a Post-War World (1995) ISBN 1-57098-103-5
    * The Farfarers: Before the Norse (1998 - Reprint 2000) ISBN 1-883642-56-6
    * The Alban Quest The Search for a Lost Tribe (1999) ISBN 0-297-84295-1
    * Walking on the Land (2000) ISBN 1-58642-024-0
    * High Latitudes: An Arctic Journey (2002) ISBN 1-58642-061-5
    * No Man's River (2004) ISBN 0-7867-1430-1
    * Bay of Spirits: A Love Story (2006) ISBN 0-7710-6538-8
    * Otherwise (2008) ISBN 0-771-06489-6

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