The Real-Life Story of ‘The Last Whalers’ Reads Like a First-Rate Novel

Monday, January 14, 2019
Dwight Garner, The New York Times
Image from NYT Article: The best harpooners among the Lamalerans are revered. Credit Doug Bock Clark

The novelist Thomas McGuane moved to Montana many years ago, he has said, because he didn’t want “writer hands.” He wanted to hunt and fish and walk outdoors. He wanted to avoid a soft life.

The journalist Doug Bock Clark, in order to write his immersive, densely reported and altogether remarkable first book, “The Last Whalers: Three Years in the Far Pacific with a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life,” moved about as far from the world’s air-conditioned urban centers as it is still possible to get.