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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this book. Read about the way things were on a piece of our marvelous earth before man messed with its indigenous people and creatures. This book paints a picture of these and his adventures in the great north of Canada. One gets an armchair adventure in the wilderness with its people and creatures. Farley Mowat loves the environment and those who knew how to live in it. This tale includes these, as well as describing his childhood of exploration of the wild and its critters. We also learn of his wartime (WW2) experience. It's a great read
Everyone who considers themselves a Canadian either by birth or naturalization should read this book. If it isn't already it should be mandatory reading for all grade 10/11 students. A balance of what is truly great about Canada and to be a Canadian along with an equal dose and slap in the face of the dark side.
What can I ever say about Farley Mowat, that hasn't been said, glowingly, by tens of thousands of others, in hundreds of languages? He's a classic, and a MUST READ especially if you appreciate the great outdoors, and are a lover of animals. Mowat is a gorgeous writer; deeply observant of everything around him, and appreciative, funny, sometimes uproariously so, generous and humble, and yet so highly intelligent, without flaunting it, and being condescending. Mowat is a writer that I return to again and again, if only as an affirmation that life is good, and that there are so many wonderful things to partake of, surrounding us, if only we will open our senses, and be appreciative of the life that teams across this gorgeous little planet of ours. Mowat makes me remember, and he makes me look forward to good things to come, because in a way, he's a philosopher; a thinker of simple, but deeply profound thoughts, that anyone could benefit from, who wants to coexist with the natural world...
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