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The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  161 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Throughout the centuries, the Amazon has yielded many of its secrets, but it still holds a few great mysteries. In 1996 experts got their first glimpse of one: a lone Indian, a tribe of one, hidden in the forests of southwestern Brazil. Previously uncontacted tribes are extremely rare, but a one-man tribe was unprecedented. And like all of the isolated tribes in the Amazon ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Scribner (first published May 24th 2010)
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Rachel
This is a fantastic book. It's about a man living in the Amazon who is the last surviving member of his tribe, and the Brazilian government's efforts to contact him and protect him from the ranchers and farmers whose land he lives on, who were most likely responsible for the death of all the other members of his tribe. The government agency wants to contact him so they can identify him as belonging to a unique culture and establish a reservation to protect him from the advances of the local farm ...more
Mikey B.
A very compelling narrative of the search for the last member of a tribe, in the Amazon rain forest of Brazils’ Rondonia province. The great strength and quality of this book is that it scrutinizes this search from several different angles.

Since Columbus there has always been a conflict between the ‘settlers’ and the indigenous peoples. Today, the Amazon rain forest, is still viewed as a land mass of opportunity for urban Brazil. People from the eastern seaboard can start a new life – at little
...more
Booknblues
Journalist Monte Reel presents a captivating story in his book The Last of the Tribeabout the story of an attempt to save a lone Indian by Brazil’s National Indian Foundation otherwise known as FUNAI. Reel is thorough in his investigation of the story and tells the tale in an interest manner with a pace that moves quickly. He informs the reader of the various complexities of the situation and the politics involved.

A lone Indian living off the grid is discovered in Rondonia in 1996. His existence
...more
Unwisely
This is the sort of serendipitous find that happens when you go pick a book off the shelf of a well-stocked library instead of just requesting the hold. This is one of two books I grabbed when I went to get River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon. I had no idea other than the title, but, whoa.

It turns out there's a government agency in Brazil whose function is to identify uncontacted tribes and protect some land for their use. Reading this
...more
Noni
Absolutely fascinating. The author presents a riveting tale of a small group of men who risk their lives to save the last of Indigenous tribes in the Amazon against encroaching ranchers, loggers, and unscrupulous politicians. During the course of their work, rumors of a lone man living in the wilds of the Amazon rainforest reached their ears and so they set off to confirm the story. All efforts to interact with this Indian once they located his current camp were fruitless. Is he the lone survivo ...more
Sharon Roy
I'm glad I read this on the heels of 1491. This is a story about why it is so important to save this one man even though, to many, it seems that the price is economic advancement for many hundreds of others. It also challenges the concepts of "advancement" and "progress" though in very subtle ways (see 1491 for a better challenge of how we Westerners position ourselves relative to those who lived in these lands before we got here). These are not clichéd or romantic readings, so if you're looking ...more
David Smith
This book seemed a little slow to me, but I found the subject very interesting and important. What a shame it is that even after our heart breaking history of slaughtering entire cultures because of the vagaries of geography, we still must undergo such an epic struggle to do right even by one man.

And what a profound existence this man has. Nobody else in the world speaks his language. He doesn't appear to speak it any more, being profoundly alone for 15 years now. Yet, he is highly functioning,
...more
Jennyprice
I often struggle with non-fiction, especially when it comes to weighty subjects of which I have little to no background. BUT this book has more vibrant characters than much of the fiction I've read recently, from the Brazilian government agents searching furiously to save the last Indian of a tribe to the native people they enlist to help them in their quest. This book does a great job of weaving historical background with good-old fashioned suspenseful narrative. I was eager to see what would h ...more
Virginia
e-book. really good book. read 2012 or 2013. See Amazon review.
James Parrillo
An excellently well documented historical account of environmental, cultural and political intrigue in the Amazon.

This book poses serious ethical dilemmas and paradoxes. In making contact indigenous people we can learn more about their culture and perhaps assist in preserving it. But we can also dilute it, destroy their way of living, and spread disease and less desired effects of modern western culture such as alcoholism.

However, if contact is not made these cultures will surely be lost to tim
...more
Jodi
This book chronicles not only the saga of a handful of men attempting to preserve a parcel of forest for a man who appears to be the last living member of an Indian tribe, but also wrestles with issues of society's choices around land use and exploitation of resources. The author's fascination with the story of this lone Indian is obvious, and he did a good job researching and retelling the tale. Thought-provoking and intriguing, this book forces readers to try and fathom the nearly unimaginable ...more
Nadege
This book changed my life!
Donald
The true story of a lone Indian's fight for survival and the men who dedicate their lives to preserving his right to carry on that fight, The Last of the Tribe is an amazing book. Monte Reel delivers a gripping account of a group of men dedicated to holding off loggers, ranchers, and their own government to save an indigenous man who appears to be the "last of his tribe" in northwestern Brazil.

Reel's writing is excellent, meticulously researched, and well paced. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed
...more
Greg
Really enjoyed. Heard about the lone Indian on NPR, in a special about human isolation and it's affects on the human psyche. A dramatic unfolding of events in a thoughtful and engaging tale about exploration, man's impact in the Amazon, and the dwindling indigenous populations it supports. With a cast of characters rivaling Don Quixote in their sense of adventure, lending voices to those who cannot speak, I was left awestruck and grateful for their hard work and perseverance.
Steve
Extremely interesting premise. Presents a fascinating look at the settling of the deep Amazon forests in Brazil in the 20th Century. It was similar to the story of the American West. Many of the issues and concerns faced by both sides (developers and the protectors of indigenous tribes) are discussed and analyzed. It also provides and fascinating look into what happens when indigenous peoples and 'modern' society collide and overlap.
Alicia
I could not put this book down. It was facinating and full of suspense! Monte Reel profiles the quest of a group of Brazilian government ethnographers to contact a lone indigenous man--the last of his tribe--in the Amazon jungle. Reel uncovers the tensions among government interests, agricultural development, property rights, and the rights of Brazil's isolated indigenous. Great read!
Kelle
This is a fascinating story about different Indian tribes in Brazil as well as a quest to contact a man who appears to be the last member of his tribe. It is a fascinating view of the struggle to "save" these tribes without corrupting them. The author also goes into depth on the struggle between land owners and the people trying to protect the tribes.
Ariel
While it took a little while tiger going this book was great. Finally some well written journalist produced popular non-fiction.

It covers the story of the team trying to protect the land of a lone Indian in the amazon. Lots of adventure, stories about tribes that were contacted, Brazilian politics etc. all and all it kept me engaged throughout
Mimi
This is a fascinating book on several levels. It is an amazing true story about the survival of a lone Indian (the rest of his tribe having been killed by ranchers) given the corrupt politics in the area. His survival is partly due to a few individuals who fought for him, but also due to his ability to keep disappearing into the forest.
Marie desJardins
I thought I would really like this book, and it does have some interesting information in it about "lost tribes" -- but it just meanders all over the place, with no compelling narrative structure. In the end, I did manage to finish it, but just barely.
Jennifer Tullis
I enjoyed this book. I am more interested in the tribes than the Brazilians trying to save them, but this narrative delivers good information on both. I'd like to see it as a documentary film.
Sophie
Interesting topic and very informative. However the bar for narrative nonfiction has been set fairly high and this rendering doesn't quite live up to the style.
Julia Hahn
A little jumpy chronologically, but definitely worthwhile. I think I discovered that I developed a soft spot for Indigenous peoples because I actually cried at the end.
Jenn
This story of a lone tribesman living in the Amazon was fascinating, but I found the actual writing a bit boring. I skimmed some sections.
Brian
interesting to read up on the history of "progress" and first contact with native tribes of the amazon. a fast read and very engaging.
Cathy Scholtens
Great book. Bogged down a bit talking about the politics of Indigenous Peoples affairs, but that info is critical to the story. ...more
ernesto
rare insight into the human spirit and a contemporary view to brazilian culture, society and politics.
Sofia
For those who would have be sociologists in another life
Amy
Interesting read that gets you thinking,
Ellen
Inspiring! Thrilling a pleasure to explore
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