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At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic

2.67  ·  Rating details ·  229 ratings  ·  73 reviews
At the End of the World is the remarkable story of a series of murders that occurred in an extremely remote corner of the Arctic in 1941. Those murders show that senseless violence in the name of religion is not only a contemporary phenomenon, and that a people as seemingly peaceful as the Inuit can become unpeaceful at the drop of a hat or, in this instance, a meteor show ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books
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2.67  · 
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 ·  229 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor
3.5 Not at all a chronological read, but more as musings, Millman wanders back and forth in thought and deed to the murders that took place in the Arctic in 1941. Most of these thoughts are only a few lines long but they are so extremely insightful, full of warnings and thoughts about our current addiction to all things that contain screens, our lack of care and indeed even notice of our natural world and original cultures and the danger our complete indifference can and have already caused.

This is like nothing I've ever read before. Lawrence Millman tells the story of a series of murders committed in the name of religion by a few of the Belcher Inuit of Hudson Bay back in March of 1941. But interspersed in the telling are his thoughts on nature and his funny and ironic comments on our world today. For instance, he coins the word 'Cyberia' and says it is one of the most highly populated realms on our planet. It has no landscape, only endless screens, and the inhabitants don't reali ...more
Lauren McClees
Feb 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I have never written a Goodreads review before but this book was so disappointing that I needed to vent about it. Do NOT read this book. It's awful. It bills itself as being an investigation into murders in the arctic with a lot of Inuit and natural history of the area along the way. This sounded like something I would really enjoy, like my true crime podcasts and Bill Bryson came together. NOPE! It's terrible. It's just a series of thoughts, like reading postit notes about whatever caught the a ...more
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
The author's "kids these days with their iPhones and their Nintendos and their internet" shtick distracts from a fascinating true story. He's trying to draw parallels and warn about shifts in ways of life, but it just ends up feeling like being scolded in the middle of an otherwise interesting read.
Apr 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
If you're the kind of person who thinks, "You know what would make this potentially fascinating story of murder and religion in the Arctic even better? The smug ramblings of a Neo-Luddite!" then this book is for you.

Everyone else can probably give it a miss. This was so disappointing.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
At the End of the World was a very interesting book. I planned this year to read other genres than the ones I am used to. So, here I go. I was reluctant at first but I am glad that I did. The book was really good. It has a bit of everything and to my surprise it was also a page turner for me.

In "At the End of the World", Lawrence Millman visits Hudson Bay and the Belcher Islands to investigate a series of murders that occurred there in 1941. At first I thought i was delving into a book about
Caitlin O'Sullivan
Let's start with this: readers expecting a true-crime story will be disappointed by At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic. While the strange crimes central to the book are fascinating, they're not Millman's main focus. (It could be argued, as other reviewers on Goodreads have noted, that his real subject is the ubiquity of technology and its effect on the average American--a topic that seems to enrage him and leave him feeling smugly superior in nearly equal parts.)

At the
Jillian Coleen
Feb 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

I had a really difficult time getting into this book - I tried multiple times and made it about halfway through before I decided not to finish it.

Millman's style is very conversational - many paragraphs end in ellipses as he trails off, jumps into side notes and tangents, many of which have a very tenuous relationship with the story itself. Millman is also incredibly judgmental of technolo
Emily Carter-Dunn
Jan 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley.

I requested this book as I teach the Dene for IB Social Anthropology and I thought this would make an interesting read and perhaps something I could adapt for my students. There is actually a lot of information and research in the book that would make for an excellent ethnography; in fact the increasing use of technology amongst Inuit people is a growing focus in anthropology.

Unfortunately, the book as it stands is not a good read. The book reads more
Debbie Armbruster
Mar 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Less about the circumstances of murders inspired by religion in the far north, At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder read like a treatise on the horrors of modern technological consumption. While some excellent points were made, I was disappointed that the anti-tech rhetoric overwhelmed information about the murders/religious hysteria.
Nov 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
I can't remember the last time I've been so disappointed in a book. Buyer, beware: this is not, as the title would lead readers to believe, a narrative account of murder in the arctic. Instead, it's a series of self-indulgent ramblings and barbed little witticisms at the expense of the author's contemporaries. These smug comments are loosely arranged around a few mentions of a series of 1941 murders in Hudson Bay. Honestly, I hold the publisher responsible for marketing this as narrative nonfict ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
A meteor shower and a self-proclaimed God and Jesus during the winter of 1941 in the Belcher Islands resulted in the deaths of nine Inuit, mainly women and children. Millman outlines the occurrence in a series of "notes," not so much a chronological story but a story that he relates to his experiences, current events, and his ideas about digital culture and obsession.
While the format is interesting and some of the notes arresting, there is some preaching going on by Millman.

p.63: One consequence
John Alvord
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it
The dysfunction attending a clash of modernity with traditional culture.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
I got about 50 pages into it before realizing that I had no obligation to finish reading, and stopped--but I'll never get that time back. I wish there was an option to give this zero stars.

I would recommend this to people who enjoy reading about how people with cellphones, along with television and the internet in general, have irritated the author. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone interested in the arctic or in murder.
Eustacia Tan
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was, sadly, a disappointing read.

At The End of the World covers the little-known Belcher Island Murders, where nine people were killed in the winter of 1941. The reason?

An Inuit named Charley Ouyerack believed himself to be Jesus Christ, and revealed another man - Peter Sala - to he God. More than a few believed, and those who didn't were killed because they were 'Satan'.

Sadly, the book doesn't do a good job of writing about the murders. There are a few problems, such as the choppy writing.
May 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
What an aggravating read! It's supposed to be about a set of murders in the very remote Belcher Islands in Canada in 1941. One Inuk man proclaims he is Jesus and another proclaims he is God and they go killing anyone suspected of being Satan and others die while pushed to wait for the end of the world naked in freezing temps. Is the cause a shared delusion or a type of cult? Just an excuse to murder and take power? Or a misunderstanding of the white man's religion that they have been told parts ...more
The title makes this book seem so very fascinating. True crime that takes place in a super remote area, involving Native Americans? There is so much to love in this premise. The problem is, Millman doesn't really achieve any of this.

Instead of focusing on the murders, Millman instead gives us a stream of consciousness piece. He'll focus on some of the details of the murders, but then he begins to muse about the plants up in the Arctic or the way of life of the Inuit, but generally he rants abou
Jan 22, 2017 rated it liked it
The author is described as a naturalist and an Arctic explorer. The book focuses mostly on 13 murders committed in a remote, peaceful, traditional Inuit settlement in 1941. This occurred on isolated Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay.
It also laments that our society has become less connected to nature, environmental destruction and social interaction due to our growing addiction to digital devices. We are missing observable climate change and the degradation of nature due to growing dependence on i
It takes a whole lot to get a one star out of me and for such a short book this impressively begs for it. The tag line is 'A true story of murder in the arctic', and while there are notes and thoughts on the murders in question most of it laced and held together with the author's thoughts on 'today's youths', making it more a 'Thoughts from my notebooks as I kind of talk about murder and more gripe about today's young people'. He spends as much time going on about the evils of the 'Cyberians' ( ...more
Jessica Tack
Sep 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
I have NEVER before felt the urge to burn a book rather than return it to the library, just that that no one else would have to suffer through this tripe. The story of the Arctic murders was fascinating, but it was the thinnest of broken threads popping up randomly through this book. The majority of the book consisted of Neo-Luddite rantings and ponderings. Fine, if the author feels that way and wants to express it, but why disguise it within what it being sold as a non-fiction accout of histori ...more
Hayley McCoy
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
So disappointing... basically another baby boomer saying "millennials are killing [insert anything here]", which is frankly becoming exhausting. His holier-than-thou-I-am-more-enlightened-than you Luddite attitude completely derailed the narrative of a historical tragedy that I came to the book looking to find. The author seemed just as self-absorbed as the "cyberians" he looked down on and did not do the story justice, making it seem like the deaths of those Inuks invalid and something you coul ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I could not finish this book. It's not really a historic account so much as the author's musings. He is a proud Luddite and makes a point to insert his commentary on the evils of technology and "kids these days" ramblings. I honestly don't remember anything about the native people or the supposed story he was telling. If you want to write your treatise against technology then go ahead, but don't disguise it as a historic mystery.
Sarah Elizabeth
Apr 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
I literally only finished this book so I could write a review on my insidious PHONE to be posted to an evil WEBSITE because I figured it would give the author fits.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book engages in something of a bait and switch. It purports to be about a fascinating case of cult murders that occurred in 1941 among the Inuit on the remote Belcher Islands of the Canadian Arctic. However, it is actually a prolonged rant against modern communications technology-- television, computers, the internet, and especially i-phones. Ironically, while the author complains that these devices distract us from the real world (a view I basically share), his obsessive condemnation of th ...more
Warren-Newport Public Library
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
From the subtitle, one would think that Lawrence Millman’s At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Artic would be a true crime narrative. It is, sort of, but much of this brief book is taken up with Millman’s reflections on the digital age.

The true crime aspect of the book is easy to summarize: in 1941 two Inuit men of Canada’s remote Belcher Islands decide that they are “God” and “Jesus”, respectively. Anyone in their small community who does not recognize their new status as dei
Jan 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book was a disappointment as I went into it expecting it to be about a series of murders that took place in the Arctic. Instead, this book is simply a compilation of notes taken by the author over a number of years and visits to the Arctic area known as the Belcher Islands. The story of the murders in many instances took a backseat to the author's observations about the climate of this Arctic region, his explanation of the environment of the area and how it is changing or has changed becaus ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was an unexpected surprise – in a very good way. The subtitle “a true story of murder in the Arctic,” led me to believe that was the main event. Yes, it’s in the book but there is so much more going on. Millman takes you back to a horrific crime scene in the Belcher Islands in the 1940s, but that is just the beginning. Millman has much more on his mind, the clash of cultures, the role of religion, justice, the lost of habitat, and the impact of technology – and always the people. With ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
"passionately in love with digital technology, our species has become its own predator" (p. 142) would be a better tag line for this book than "a true story of murder in the Arctic" as appears on the cover currently.

It is the case that some of the extremely short paragraphs in this almost prose-poetry mashup book are about a murder mystery among the Inuit in the 1940s, but many many many of them are instead a "get off my lawn"-style complaint about all the zombies (sorry, "cyberians" in this boo
Laura Brown
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this book at random in our local library, and was relieved to find something that was easy to read, engaging, and relatively short. I came into the book with zero knowledge of the Inuit people, and even less about Inuit crime. I found this to be an enlightening and interesting journey of social perceptions, spiritual belief, and how much of our American understanding of "crime" is based heavily in our socio-political context.

Expect to learn a lot about European colonization of Canada, I
This book is a collection of disjointed, curmudgeonly, neo-Luddite ramblings with snippets of an Arctic murder thrown in to trick people into reading it. Really, come for the murder, stay for my rants about how poorly I understand Google search algorithms.

If I had to venture a guess, Millman signed a contract to write a book about the 1941 Hudson Bay murders. There was not enough information available for an entire book, so he created a work that juxtaposed cultural changes. However, this is do
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I've written 16 books, including such titles as Last Places, Our Like Will Not Be There Again, A Kayak Full of Ghosts, Hero Jesse, and Fascinating Fungi of New England. I've also explored remote areas in East Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. I'm a Fellow of the prestigious Explorers Club and, in my mycological capacity, past president of the A.S.S. (American Stinkhorn Society).

And here's the mo
“A few years later, in Inukjuak, I learned that SFU is the Inuit texting acronym for "snowmobile fucked up," and that POOS is the acronym for "passed out on snowmobile.” 1 likes
“The last wendigo died in 1962, or so the story goes. Reputedly, he (it?) stood in front of the train to Churchill, Manitoba, believing that the train would stop for him, a supernatural being, and then he would be able to eat the passengers. The train ran him over. Sic transit gloria mundi.” 0 likes
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