author, environmentalist Farley Mowat dies at 92
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[May 08, 2014]
—Canadian author and environmentalist Farley Mowat, a fervent
and sometimes controversial writer who sold some 17 million books,
has died, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday. He was
Mowat's work introduced millions of readers to the Canadian
north, a vast, sparsely populated region few writers had
explored in depth. He also campaigned for the need to protect
wildlife and strongly opposed over-development by humans.
"I feel sorry for us because not only are we a bad animal, but
we're most inevitably a doomed animal. Every species dies out.
But our doom is here and now," he told an interviewer in 1998.
Harper said in a statement that Mowat would "be remembered as a
passionate Canadian. His legacy will live on in the treasure of
Canadian literature he leaves behind, which will remain a joy to
both new and old fans around the world".
Mowat, who served as an officer in Italy in World War Two, came
to prominence in 1952 with his first book, "People of the Deer,"
which described the travails of an Inuit tribe battling
starvation and government indifference in Canada's Arctic.
The book sparked interest in the north, and Mowat built on his
fame with "Never Cry Wolf" in 1963, in which he tried to dispel
the image of the wolf as a killing machine responsible for the
decline in the caribou population.
But some experts denounced as nonsense his portrayal of wolves
as relatively gentle animals that would rather hunt mice or
hares than caribou and debates about the accuracy of his work
continued for decades. In 1996, Canada's Saturday Night magazine
put Mowat on its cover with a long nose, implying he was a liar.
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"I took some pride in having it known that I never let facts get in
the way of a good story. I was writing subjective non-fiction all
along," Mowat told an interviewer in 2012.
Mowat wrote more than 40 books and was awarded the prestigious Order
of Canada decoration in 1981. He is survived by his second wife and
two adult children.
He was also a friend of former Liberal prime minister Pierre
Trudeau, himself a great nature lover.
"He was obviously a passionate Canadian who shaped a lot of my
generation growing up with his books, and he will be sorely missed,"
said Trudeau's son Justin, 42, who heads Canada's opposition Liberal
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum and James
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