Gary Mancuso has seen how fast the world’s biological and cultural diversity is being obliterated by rapid globalization. In 2005, He saw the earth reaching a major turning point, when the last remnants of primal humanity and nature would soon be gone. So, in a life-changing gamble, he set off on a six-year journey to see the earth’s remaining wildernesses.
This intensely personal account of Gary’s journey includes feasting with New Guinea’s former cannibals, hunting with Pygmies in the Congo Basin, and attending a Madagascan highland death ritual with an exhumed corpse as the guest of honor.
Gary paid a price for his journey: lost his wife to divorce, half his net worth to financial malfeasance, and a dear friend to suicide. He fell sick several times, got electrocuted, and struggled with the inevitable disorientation borne of long rootlessness. But he overcame each hurdle and even found romance in some unlikely places. By dumb luck, some smart luck, and an instinct for improvisation, he pressed on and somehow staggered home.
The Last Places on Earth: Journeys in Our Disappearing World is a timely and powerful reminder that the wonderment and mystery that we humans naively assumed would always be there is dying fast.
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Gary Mancuso yearned to travel ever since he was a boy. Then, the summer before his senior year in high school, he left his family home in Ohio and drove to California. Arriving in Los Angeles with four dollars in his pocket, he slept on the beach for a spell until he got his footing. When he wasn’t off wandering somewhere, he studied economics, communications, and political science and got a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California. Before setting off on the journey that became the subject of this book, Gary headed business development in the trading room of a large regional bank. Along with his passion for travel, he is an avid trekker, swimmer, scuba diver, environmentalist, and private pilot.
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