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The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure
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"ADVENTURE TRAVEL AT ITS BEST." —Kirkus, starred • A BANFF MOUNTAIN BOOK AWARDS FINALIST

Two modern adventurers sought a treasure possessed by the legendary "Wild Men of Borneo." One found riches. The other vanished forever into an endless jungle. Had he shed civilization—or lost his mind? Global headlines suspected murder. Lured by these mysteries, New York Times bestselling author Carl Hoffman journeyed to find the truth, discovering that nothing is as it seems in the world's last Eden, where the lines between sinner and saint blur into one.

In 1984, Swiss traveler Bruno Manser joined an expedition to the Mulu caves on Borneo, the planet's third largest island. There he slipped into the forest interior to make contact with the Penan, an indigenous tribe of peace-loving nomads living among the Dayak people, the fabled "Headhunters of Borneo." Bruno lived for years with the Penan, gaining acceptance as a member of the tribe. However, when commercial logging began devouring the Penan's homeland, Bruno led the tribe against these outside forces, earning him status as an enemy of the state, but also worldwide fame as an environmental hero. He escaped captivity under gunfire twice, but the strain took a psychological toll. Then, in 2000, Bruno disappeared without a trace. Had he become a madman, a hermit, or a martyr?

American Michael Palmieri is, in many ways, Bruno's opposite. Evading the Vietnam War, the Californian wandered the world, finally settling in Bali in the 1970s. From there, he staged expeditions into the Bornean jungle to acquire astonishing art and artifacts from the Dayaks. He would become one of the world's most successful tribal-art field collectors, supplying sacred works to prestigious museums and wealthy private collectors. And yet suspicion shadowed this self-styled buccaneer who made his living extracting the treasure of the Dayak: Was he preserving or exploiting native culture?

As Carl Hoffman unravels the deepening riddle of Bruno's disappearance and seeks answers to the questions surrounding both men, it becomes clear saint and sinner are not so easily defined and Michael and Bruno are, in a sense, two parts of one whole: each spent his life in pursuit of the sacred fire of indigenous people. The Last Wild Men of Borneo is the product of Hoffman's extensive travels to the region, guided by Penan through jungle paths traveled by Bruno and by Palmieri himself up rivers to remote villages. Hoffman also draws on exclusive interviews with Manser's family and colleagues, and rare access to his letters and journals. Here is a peerless adventure propelled by the entwined lives of two singular, enigmatic men whose stories reveal both the grandeur and the precarious fate of the wildest place on earth.

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Format:
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Street Date:
03/06/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062439048
ASIN:
B0727TN59S
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APA Citation (style guide)

Carl Hoffman. (2018). The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure. William Morrow.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Carl Hoffman. 2018. The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure. William Morrow.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Carl Hoffman, The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure. William Morrow, 2018.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Carl Hoffman. The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure. William Morrow, 2018. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Carl Hoffman is the author of the New York Times bestseller Savage Harvest, hailed as a "masterpiece" by Outside and named a New York Times editors' choice and one of the Washington Post's 50 notable works of nonfiction for 2014, as well as The Lunatic Express. He is a former contributing editor to National Geographic Traveler and Wired, and has traveled on assignment to eighty countries.

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"ADVENTURE TRAVEL AT ITS BEST." —Kirkus, starred • A BANFF MOUNTAIN BOOK AWARDS FINALIST

Two modern adventurers sought a treasure possessed by the legendary "Wild Men of Borneo." One found riches. The other vanished forever into an endless jungle. Had he shed civilization—or lost his mind? Global headlines suspected murder. Lured by these mysteries, New York Times bestselling author Carl Hoffman journeyed to find the truth, discovering that nothing is as it seems in the world's last Eden, where the lines between sinner and saint blur into one.

In 1984, Swiss traveler Bruno Manser joined an expedition to the Mulu caves on Borneo, the planet's third largest island. There he slipped into the forest interior to make contact with the Penan, an indigenous tribe of peace-loving nomads living among the Dayak people, the fabled "Headhunters of Borneo." Bruno lived for years with the Penan, gaining acceptance as a member of...

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fullDescription

"ADVENTURE TRAVEL AT ITS BEST." —Kirkus, starred • A BANFF MOUNTAIN BOOK AWARDS FINALIST

Two modern adventurers sought a treasure possessed by the legendary "Wild Men of Borneo." One found riches. The other vanished forever into an endless jungle. Had he shed civilization—or lost his mind? Global headlines suspected murder. Lured by these mysteries, New York Times bestselling author Carl Hoffman journeyed to find the truth, discovering that nothing is as it seems in the world's last Eden, where the lines between sinner and saint blur into one.

In 1984, Swiss traveler Bruno Manser joined an expedition to the Mulu caves on Borneo, the planet's third largest island. There he slipped into the forest interior to make contact with the Penan, an indigenous tribe of peace-loving nomads living among the Dayak people, the fabled "Headhunters of Borneo." Bruno lived for years with the Penan, gaining acceptance as a member of the tribe. However, when commercial logging began devouring the Penan's homeland, Bruno led the tribe against these outside forces, earning him status as an enemy of the state, but also worldwide fame as an environmental hero. He escaped captivity under gunfire twice, but the strain took a psychological toll. Then, in 2000, Bruno disappeared without a trace. Had he become a madman, a hermit, or a martyr?

American Michael Palmieri is, in many ways, Bruno's opposite. Evading the Vietnam War, the Californian wandered the world, finally settling in Bali in the 1970s. From there, he staged expeditions into the Bornean jungle to acquire astonishing art and artifacts from the Dayaks. He would become one of the world's most successful tribal-art field collectors, supplying sacred works to prestigious museums and wealthy private collectors. And yet suspicion shadowed this self-styled buccaneer who made his living extracting the treasure of the Dayak: Was he preserving or exploiting native culture?

As Carl Hoffman unravels the deepening riddle of Bruno's disappearance and seeks answers to the questions surrounding both men, it becomes clear saint and sinner are not so easily defined and Michael and Bruno are, in a sense, two parts of one whole: each spent his life in pursuit of the sacred fire of indigenous people. The Last Wild Men of Borneo is the product of Hoffman's extensive travels to the region, guided by Penan through jungle paths traveled by Bruno and by Palmieri himself up rivers to remote villages. Hoffman also draws on exclusive interviews with Manser's family and colleagues, and rare access to his letters and journals. Here is a peerless adventure propelled by the entwined lives of two singular, enigmatic men whose stories reveal both the grandeur and the precarious fate of the wildest place on earth.

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Last Wild Men of Borneo A True Story of Death and Treasure
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
      • content: "An expertly wrought tale of exploration, adventure and mischief. ... Hoffman does an excellent job entering the worlds and minds of two men who did not fit in and who carved out their own destinies. ... At once cautionary and inspiring; adventure travel at its best."
      • premium: False
      • source: William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Barbarian Days
      • content: "The Last Wild Men of Borneo is the best book about the 'Western hunger for Eastern solace,' as Carl Hoffman neatly puts it, you'll probably ever read. ... Eloquent."
      • premium: False
      • source: Peter Stark, author of Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire
      • content: "A marvelously told and important story: Carl Hoffman guides us on a compelling and disturbing journey in the footsteps of two Western adventurers who penetrated to the wildest heart of Borneo."
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Post
      • content: "A work of remarkable empathy, not only with the two hard-charging Westerners but also with the indigenous people they cultivated. ... Quite a story—exciting, funny and tragic—and Hoffman tells it extraordinarily well."
      • premium: False
      • source: Outside magazine
      • content: "Compelling. ... A first-rate adventure story. ... Part of the magic of this book [is] that in the hazy equatorial air of a place peopled by such outsized characters, anything was possible."
      • premium: False
      • source: Nicholas Shakespeare, author of Bruce Chatwin and In Tasmania
      • content: "I finished The Last Wild Men of Borneo in one long delicious gulp. ... A shimmering cornucopia of adventure, biography, mystery, tragedy."
      • premium: False
      • source: Christian Science Monitor
      • content: "A real-life adventure tale sure to delight fans of David Grann (The Lost City of Z) and Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air, Into the Wild)."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist (starred review)
      • content: "Compelling and haunting, a story of lofty ideals and base desires, a deeply personal story written by a man who loves Borneo and who struggles to understand the forces that threaten to tear it apart."
      • premium: False
      • source: Columbus Dispatch
      • content: "Fascinating. ... [Hoffman] knows how to tell a suspenseful story."
      • premium: False
      • source: Joshua Hammer, author of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu
      • content: "Carl Hoffman's thrilling The Last Wild Men of Borneo explores both the allure and dangers of the world's most untamed environment. A mesmerizing tale of two men who break their bonds with civilization in pursuit of deeper meaning - and the tragedy that befalls one of them."
      • premium: False
      • source:   QC Times
      • content: "A true, jaw-dropping story that pulls you in with a shiver. ... Using great details in these parallel narratives and a perfectly-worked ending, Hoffman carefully preserves two mysteries: one with a contented life, and one in death."
      • premium: False
      • source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
      • content: "A gifted, suspenseful storyteller. ... Compelling."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jakarta Post
      • content: "Compelling. ... Hoffman has a journalist's nose for a good story and he writes with an assuredness that makes for a good read. This is a tale of high adventure, of exotic lands, risky escapades, narrow escapes, and rich rewards."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "A deeply informative anthropological study disguised as an adventure tale."
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 15, 2017

        While Swiss environmentalist Bruno Manser was helping Borneo's Penan tribe battle multinational logging conglomerates (he was declared an enemy of the state and vanished in 2000), American Michael Palmieri was getting rich by buying up Borneo artworks for pennies and selling them for a fortune. Following the New York Times best-selling Savage Harvest; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 15, 2018
        An expertly wrought tale of exploration, adventure, and mischief by Hoffman (Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art, 2014, etc.), who returns to the South Pacific island of Borneo to tell it.The "last wild men of Borneo" are not the headhunters or circus freaks of yore but instead two foreigners, one Swiss and one American, who entered into the rainforest and the territory of little-known people and carved out different fortunes for themselves. Bruno Manser arrived in 1983, looking for something outside himself; he had resisted the draft, bounced around among mountains and coastlines, and found his calling fighting the logging companies that were busily clear-cutting the vast old-growth forests of the interior. The companies won, for, as the author writes, "the untouched forests of Borneo are gone." The question that occupies the author is this: what happened to Manser, who inspired a near-cultlike movement and commanded the loyalty of many admirers in the outside world, "surrounded by sycophants and followers who couldn't say no to him"? As with his book on Michael Rockefeller, Hoffman is fascinated by the possibilities of someone who simply walked into the jungle and disappeared: did those headhunters get him? Was he murdered by loggers? The other wild man is American art collector Michael Palmieri who, as the anthropologists say, irrevocably changed the culture of the true "wild people" of Borneo by introducing the market to them. For decades, he has bought and sold Dayak and other ethnic art, perhaps against international laws in the trade of cultural goods, even as he has found himself unable to live among his own people. The two stories do not always neatly track, but Hoffman does an excellent job entering the worlds and minds of two men who did not fit in and who carved out their own destinies--if, of course, in other people's homelands.At once cautionary and inspiring; adventure travel at its best.

        COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 29, 2018
        Travel writer Hoffman (Savage Harvest) uses his own travels to the Pacific island of Borneo to frame biographies of Swiss environmentalist Bruno Manser and American art dealer Michael Palmieri, two Westerners whose activities on the remote island significantly affected the land and its people. Though Manser and Palmieri never actually met, they both found their calling in Borneo in the 1970s and 1980s. Palmieri, “a buccaneer” drawn to the island by wanderlust, became a distinguished collector and dealer of tribal art, collecting ancient pieces such as a Dayak carving of a powerful guardian spirit. Manser, meanwhile, was “a do-gooder” drawn to the self-sustenance and communal elements of the island. He spent over a decade living with the Penan tribe in Sarawak, and became an activist in cultural preservation, fighting against the destruction of the Penan land by logging conglomerates. Hoffman, who followed the footsteps of both men, interweaves cliff-hanging scenes, such as Manser suffering a pit viper bite and Palmieri smuggling artifacts, with a history of colonialism of the island. The result is a deeply informative anthropological study disguised as an adventure tale.

subtitle
A True Story of Death and Treasure
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William Morrow
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