Book Review:At the End of the World

by Lawrence Millman

At the End of the World putatively is about a series of murders in the Belcher Islands in SE Hudson Bay in 1941. Anglican missionaries had instilled ideas of Jesus, God and Satan into the animistic Inuit islanders who already had an ancient belief that any animal or spirit could enter a person leaving them unchanged on the outside and transformed on the inside. A few folks imbued with fear of the devil decided that the devil had possessed some of their own and several of them whom Jesus and God had entered took it upon themselves to extirpate the Devil using harpoons, bullets and clubs with predictable results. The RCMP was notified and a trial was held with just white men on the jury from outside the village and punishment was meted out.
The book is very little about those murders and more a running commentary about loss of habitat in this our sixth mass extinction. Millman doesn’t directly come out and include the extinction of homo sapiens but does imply that the digital transformation of the culture is a very bad thing leading to evolution(devolution?) of the human species into what he calls homo insapiens. This new species lives divorced from nature, from the real world, living in a virtual world which he calls Cyberia. He bemoans these pitiful creatures with their heads down scratching on their glass faced hand tools checking facebook posts and emails addictively. If you are one of those people you are liable to feel insulted at Millman’s tone and declare this book a waste of your valuable screen time. If you are a Luddite or a Neo Luddite like Millman you will be entertained by his gentle needling of this feckless pointless activity of the past 2 decades transforming the world. The book has quotes from naturalists John Muir, Loren Eiseley, Also Leopold , Henry David Thoreau and others extolling the value of wild nature which is fast disappearing along with the culture of these arctic Eskimo people who have given up their dog sleds for snowmobiles which they navigate using the gps in their smart phones. It is a story of loss but he uses the Inuit word to conclude the thin book……”Ajurnamaat”……………Trans: “That’s the way it is…………”

Published by Rendezvous Mountain Farm

I was born in Cascade county Montana and raised in a dozen Air Force SAC bases. I attended Holy Cross,West Point and UNC in Chapel Hill(MD"71). Army doc in the last years of the Viet Nam fiasco. My wife and I live in a log cabin I built from standing dead lodgepole trees we cut from Shadow Mountain and regional local timber in 1976 . I've done a dozen different jobs including construction, boat building,magazine writing and commercial fishing and retired from the Emergency and Operating Room in 2004. We manage a small diversified organic farm including leased land which totals about 40 acres in the Jackson Hole valley. We raise a variety of livestock which includes some heritage breeds of animals and poultry. We grow most of our food and forage. Our land is irrigated from Granite Creek and the Snake River and we raise and bale our own organic hay. We supplement with food collected from Jackson Hole Food rescue which is mostly dairy, bread and past date vegetables and food from the grocery stores and restaurants.

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