Otherwise

Otherwise

Book - 2008
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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 federalbureaucracy 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.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9780771064890
Branch Call Number: 819.8 MOWAT
Characteristics: ix, 309 pages ; 24 cm

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erinsnest
Jan 17, 2017

Jan 2017....I found this a classic Mowat, and found it interesting how his life was transformed over the years. I had read his other book where he meets his second wife, so I was glad to be able to read about his relationship with his first wife. I was kind of disappointed with myself that I didn't twig about the real meaning of the title until I had finished the book! Sometimes I am amazed at how s l o w I can be. Oh well. I guess I should be thankful for what brains I do have! Farley's books always trigger an urge for me to start a journal, maybe I will this time?

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mckeett
Mar 05, 2016

Mowat didn't quite achieve the youthful enthusiasm of his earlier tales, but still an interesting autobiography of parts of his life. He planned to be a biologist but ended up a writer. Odd how life's many little events can change it all around.

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Liber_vermis
May 15, 2014

This memoir concludes on a rather depressing scene in Mowat's life (for two reasons) which provide the motivation for his subsequent career as an activist writer. Mowat writes about his youthful enthusiasm for photography with his "Graflex" camera but unfortunately none of his photographs of Mutt, his parents, "Scotch Bonnet" or his first wife Frances found their way into illustrating this memoir.

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Liber_vermis
May 15, 2014

This book is a memoir of Farley Mowat's life between early 1937 and the autumn of 1948 (excluding his combat service in Italy). Some sections of "Otherwise" revisit parts of the author's life that have appeared in greater detail in earlier works, notably "And No Birds Sang", "Never Cry Wolf", "No Man's River", "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be", and "Born Naked". This book overlaps these in time as it recounts seminal incidents in the author's early life. {Based on the "Author's Note"]

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Liber_vermis
May 15, 2014

"I spent most of that day watching [sea] birds ... The vast sweep of sky and water surrounding [the freighter in the North Atlantic] seemed relatively empty. I mentioned this to van Zwol [the ship's captain] at supper. 'Not long after the war started their number began falling. I didn't give it much heed until one day in 1942 ... after a U-boat pack had caught a convoy [just east of Newfoundland]. The water looked as smooth as cream though there was a good sea running. But it wasn't cream - it was bunker oil. All the way to the horizon. And it was lumpy with dead and dying birds coated with oil. ... tankers laden ... with crude and refined oil were doing down every day all over the world. Men were being lost by the hundreds, but until then I'd never given a thought to what else was being lost. Millions of birds. Tens of millions maybe, killed by oil.'" (p. 156-7)

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