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A Death in the Rainforest

Nonfiction: Social Science
Unabridged   8 hour(s)
Publication date: 06/18/2019

A Death in the Rainforest

How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684570140
Digital Download ISBN:9781684570157


Smart, engaging, and perceptive, A Death in the Rainforest takes listeners into a world that will soon disappear forever.

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Product Description

Renowned linguistic anthropologist Don Kulick first went to study the tiny jungle village of Gapun in New Guinea over thirty years ago to document how it was that their native language, Tayap, was dying. But you can't study a language without settling in among the people, understanding how they speak every day, and even more, how they live. This book takes us inside the village as Kulick came to know it, revealing what it is like to live in a difficult-to-get-to village of two hundred people, carved out like a cleft in the middle of a swamp, in the middle of a tropical rainforest. These are fascinating stories of what the people who live in that village eat for breakfast and how they sleep; about how villagers discipline their children, how they joke with one another, and how they swear at one another. Kulick tells us how villagers worship, how they argue, how they die. Finally, though, this is an illuminating look at the impact of white culture on the farthest reaches of the globe—and the story of why this anthropologist realized that he had to leave and give up his study of this language.

Smart, engaging, and perceptive, A Death in the Rainforest takes listeners into a world that will soon disappear forever.


“In this captivating narrative, [Kulick] considers complex questions about race and power in anthropological research, the nature of relationships among very different people, and the challenges of living in such a demanding environment. Kulick's engrossing, thought-provoking, and transporting chronicle will be enjoyed by National Geographic fans and all readers interested in cultural investigations.” —Booklist

“Kulick . . . wears his scholar's hat casually in this deeply personal, engaging inquiry . . . A sad and uplifting, ultimately poignant exploration.” —Kirkus Reviews

Despite lots of fascinating detail about a culture that appears very different from the modern West, the book concludes with a firm and moving reminder about shared similarities and an exhortation to better honor collective responsibilities. This frank, passionate work will move readers interested in a thoughtful contemplation of culture and globalization.” —Publishers Weekly

Author Bio

Don Kulick is the author or editor of more than a dozen books on topics that range from the lives of transgender prostitutes in Brazil to the anthropology of fat. He has conducted extensive anthropological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Brazil, and Scandinavia.