No Man's River

No Man's River

by Farley Mowat

Paperback(First Trade Paper Edition)

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786716920
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 02/09/2006
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 574,882
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

FARLEY MOWAT began writing for his living in 1949 after spending two years in the Arctic. He has lived in or visited almost every part of Canada and many other lands, including Siberia. He is the author of 38 books, including People of the Deer, The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, Never Cry Wolf, A Whale for the Killing, Aftermath, My Father's Son, And No Birds Sang, The Farfarers, Walking on the Land, The Snow Walker, and High Latitudes. He and his wife, writer Claire Mowat, divide their time between Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Table of Contents

The Why and the Wherefore1
Part 1The Incomers17
Chapter 1The Incomers19
Chapter 2Living on the Land31
Chapter 3Brothers41
Chapter 4A Spring to Remember57
Part 2Windy Post71
Chapter 5Windy Post73
Chapter 6Man and Lemmings87
Chapter 7Science Loses one97
Part 3Idthen Eldeli111
Chapter 8Southbound113
Chapter 9Many Islands Lake123
Chapter 10Telequoisie136
Chapter 11Brochet147
Part 4Kasmere's River163
Chapter 12Climbing the Cochrane165
Chapter 13Two to Remember174
Chapter 14Kasmere's Grave185
Chapter 15Kasmere's Birds196
Chapter 16Putahow207
Part 5Arctic Prairie219
Chapter 17Homecoming221
Chapter 18Land of Little Sticks232
Chapter 19The Deer's Way244
Part 6No Man's River255
Chapter 20Big River257
Chapter 21River Dogs268
Chapter 22Eskimo Charlie277
Chapter 23Kumiut291
Chapter 24Tavanni Not302
Part 7Aftermath317
Chapter 25Charles319
Chapter 26Rita331
Author's Note341

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No Man's River 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
DonSiano on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.