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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

on 30 May 2012
A few months ago a friend, recently returned from a holiday in Singapore, told of his surprise at seeing `Cromer Crab' on the menu at his hotel. Ignoring the authenticity of that particular crustacean, it did suggest that the product has a global reputation. And one richly deserved according to the likes of Rick Stein. But who actually catches these little creatures?

This delicacy - the `real' one, that is, not the product widely available as `Cromer Crab - caught in the North Atlantic, dressed in Cromer' - is provided by just 13 boats, each taken out almost every night, weather and sea conditions permitting, during the season by a solitary fisherman. These tiny open boats are launched (and retrieved) across a broad sandy beach by trailers drawn by a collection of rusty tractors aged enough to gladden the heart of any classic farm equipment enthusiast.

These fishermen, up to the eighth generation of families who have depended on the sea for their livelihoods, are by their nature self-reliant and self-sufficient members of a close-knit community; a community that has its roots back into Georgian times. The members of these families are not inclined to express their `personal and sometimes intimate details of individual lives' - but it is exactly this that Candy Whittome has set out in words and David Morris illustrates in his evocative photographs.

`The Last Hunters' can only be described as a tour de force. The author has achieved the seemingly impossible; recording the life, times, feelings and emotions of these men, women, their families and colleagues - but in their own words, not through the filter of any personal preconceptions, illusions, or sentimentality. Indeed, her most honest desire to address this fascinating subject and the people involved with humour, love and respect is evident throughout.

In order to achieve this, Candy has acted strictly as a facilitator and avoided using any obvious influence - other than that essential to the overall structure and flow of the words - and `[her] goal...has been to preserve the voice of the speaker'. This requires the suspension of the ego; the effective facilitator (like the effective manager) `is best when people barely know that he exists; a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, "We did this ourselves"' (to quote Lao Tsu!). And achieve it she most certainly has.

The result is first and foremost a thoroughly enjoyable and compulsive read, but also it will, in due course, become not only a defining work on the history of Cromer and its traditions, but also a classic example of the genre.
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on 22 July 2012
A great book - I spend quite a bit of time in North Norfolk and so was aware of the importance of the crab fishing industry (can you call something an industry that's got about 15 boats - anyway...) to the seaside town of Cromer. This book is a series of interviews with and photos of the Cromer crab fishermen and their wives, and others connected with their trade. It's a father to son occupation, and though it's difficult and dangerous (and tough to make a living) what shines through is how much the men love it. The women are more ambivalent: it's an unpredictable life, and difficult to have anything resembling a straightforward relationship - just the hours worked for a start would put pressure on family life. The women are amazingly stoical, and proud of what their husbands do, but also determined that their kids should have a choice. One of the women interviewed for the book moved her family out of Cromer to a different village because she knew the teachers would make a judgement about her son as soon as they heard his surname; "he'll be ending up a fisherman" type thing.

This gives you a view into a world that would otherwise be closed to you. Great photos, and great oral history - and a beautifully published book.
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on 12 July 2012
I bought this book as I was born in North Norfolk so the topic obviously resonates with me. Aside from the fact I know the town of Cromer so well, I just love this book. It's one of the ones that really gets under your skin, the photography is so incredibly beautiful. Well worth every penny, and certainly not one to download onto your Kindle or iPad this is one to own in the flesh.
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on 20 May 2012
a wonderful insight as to how it really is for the fishermen and thier families one of the toughest jobs around unsociable hours poorly paid and bloody hard work so much work goes into putting that cromer crab on your dinner plate often taken for granted , a great read a real eye opener as a fishermans wife you often feel so alone now i know that many of the wives and families feel and worry the same as i do, once i started to read this morning i just couldnt put it down knowing of many of the cromer fishermen and being part of that close knit fishermen family and its my hubby on the front cover of which we feel honoured it was a must read for me.
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on 22 November 2012
Fantastic book! Unfortunately about a dying industry but now documented through the eyes of those deeply involved. Its not just about the men, its also the support of their wives & children. Im proud to be part of this book & know Im biased but well done Candy, EDP book of the year!!
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on 15 January 2013
Candy Whittome and David Morris have captured the heart and soul of Cromer's crab fishing community and created a masterpiece. This is a beautiful book and a compelling account of what life is really like for the crabmen and their families. I couldn't put it down.
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on 24 July 2012
This is an excellent book, written with the fishermen and their families' true stories. I could not put it down, read it quickly. Gives us a real insight into the fishermen's lives.
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Beautifully written with stunning photography this book journeys into the lives of of real people.
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on 17 January 2013
Husband loved the book he goes out on the crab boats sometimes so it was of great interest to him
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on 5 April 2016
Unique, insightful well written.
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