NO MAN'S RIVER

Farley Mowat, Author . Carroll & Graf $25 (355p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1430-8

Having written more than 35 books (People of the Deer ; Never Cry Wolf ; etc.), Mowat (b. 1921) is certainly the pre-eminent chronicler of life on the Arctic frontier. Now he details an early Arctic adventure, a journey he took in 1947. After serving in the Canadian infantry in WWII, Mowat sought a peaceful, picturesque life in northern Manitoba, where he found circumstances that were less barbaric, but just as hard. Mowat describes joining a two-man zoological expedition on its way to an isolated camp run by a young trapper, Charles Schweder, and his family. Mowat's relationship with his expedition partner soon deteriorated, and he befriended Schweder. The two set out to help the local Eskimo population, who were struggling with smallpox and famine caused by dwindling caribou herds—all the while under pressure themselves to survive on the barren land: stockpiling meat, conserving ammunition and scrambling from shelter to shelter. The book's heart lies with the conflicts among Schweder, his racist father, his brooding brother and the Eskimo children who came into their home. Mowat's vivid descriptions and careful storytelling bring the northern frontier to life as well as any fictional account, yet the characters are real and the adversities loom large. As a result, the quiet, sad fates that meet many of Mowat's friends—both natives and pioneers—will have a lasting effect on readers. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/19/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 355 pages - 978-0-7867-1692-0
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-7867-3727-7
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