The Last Whalers (Digital Audiobook)
Three Years in the Far Pacific with a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life
Publication Date: January 7, 2019
In this "immersive, densely reported, and altogether remarkable first book [with] the texture and color of a first-rate novel" (New York Times), journalist Doug Bock Clark tells the epic story of the world's last subsistence whalers and the threats posed to a tribe on the brink.
"An amazing account . . . Spectacular and deeply empathetic." --Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm. "A monumental achievement." --Mitchell Zuckoff, 13 Hours. "A true work of art . . . Lyrically written and richly observed." --Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods. "An extraordinary feat of reportage and illumination." --Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams. "From the very first lines, I was riveted." --Robert Moor, On Trails. "Intimate and moving." --Francisco Cantú, The Line Becomes a River. "Remarkable, gorgeously written." --Bronwen Dickey, Pit Bull.
On a volcanic island in the Savu Sea so remote that other Indonesians call it "The Land Left Behind" live the Lamalerans: a tribe of 1,500 hunter-gatherers who are the world's last subsistence whalers. They have survived for half a millennium by hunting whales with bamboo harpoons and handmade wooden boats powered by sails of woven palm fronds. But now, under assault from the rapacious forces of the modern era and a global economy, their way of life teeters on the brink of collapse.
Award-winning journalist Doug Bock Clark, one of a handful of Westerners who speak the Lamaleran language, lived with the tribe across three years, and he brings their world and their people to vivid life in this gripping story of a vanishing culture. Jon, an orphaned apprentice whaler, toils to earn his harpoon and provide for his ailing grandparents, while Ika, his indomitable younger sister, is eager to forge a life unconstrained by tradition, and to realize a star-crossed love. Frans, an aging shaman, tries to unite the tribe in order to undo a deadly curse. And Ignatius, a legendary harpooner entering retirement, labors to hand down the Ways of the Ancestors to his son, Ben, who would secretly rather become a DJ in the distant tourist mecca of Bali.
Deeply empathetic and richly reported, The Last Whalers is a riveting, powerful chronicle of the collision between one of the planet's dwindling indigenous peoples and the irresistible enticements and upheavals of a rapidly transforming world.
About the Author
Doug Bock Clark is a writer and photographer whose articles and pictures have been published or are forthcoming in the New York Times, The New Republic, GQ, WIRED, Men's Journal,and other magazines and newspapers. His work has been anthologized by Oxford University Press and supported by two Fulbright Fellowships and a Glimpse Fellowship, a travel writing grant partly sponsored by National Geographic. "The Bot Bubble," his cover article for The New Republic, was a finalist for a 2016 Mirror Award. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.