The Last Whalers (Hardcover)

Three Years in the Far Pacific with an Ancient Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life

By Doug Bock Clark

Little Brown and Company, 9780316390620, 384pp.

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

List Price: 30.00*
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The epic story of the world's last subsistence whalers and the threats posed to the way of life that has sustained them for five centuries
At a time when the pace of global change has eradicated thousands of unique cultures, The Last Whalers tells the stunning inside story of the Lamalerans, an ancient tribe of 1,500 people who for at least five centuries have made their home on a volcanic island so remote that other Indonesians call it "The Land Left Behind." Now their way of life as the last subsistence whalers on earth, under assault from the allure of modernity and the rapacious forces of technology and the worldwide economy, teeters on the brink of collapse.
Award-winning journalist Doug Bock Clark, who lived and sailed with the Lamalerans across three years, takes us into the heart of this human drama. The center of the tribe's life is the hunt, which will feed them throughout the lean season. Clark weaves together the stories of a fatherless whaler striving to earn his harpoon and support his ailing grandparents; two star-crossed lovers kept apart by a family feud; a bright young woman enticed by the opportunities available to her off-island; a new widower mourning his wife of many decades and struggling to hand down the Ways of the Ancestors to his sons; and a worried shaman trying to undo a deadly curse.
In The Last Whalers, we experience the tumultuous changes being wrought on indigenous peoples across the globe through a power and moving portrait of these unforgettable families. With breathtaking prose and brilliant, deeply empathetic storytelling that is possible only after years of immersive reporting, Clark has given us a story for the ages about the bravery of a tribe desperate to extend the survival of their remarkable culture beyond these pages.

About the Author

Doug Bock Clark is a writer whose articles have appeared or are forthcoming in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, National Geographic, GQ, Wired, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, and elsewhere. He won the 2017 Reporting Award, was a finalist for the 2016 Mirror Award, and has been awarded two Fulbright Fellowships, a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and an 11th Hour Food and Farming Fellowship. Clark has been interviewed about his work on CNN, BBC, NPR, and ABC's 20/20. He is a Visiting Scholar at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.