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Laurens de Groot was a detective for the Dutch police, specializing in organized crime and environmental pollution. He was rapidly promoted through the ranks, but became increasingly disillusioned with failed prosecutions and minimal prison sentences. But although as a detective there was little he could do to stop the truly big criminals, there was a more radical option – direct action, not necessarily within the law. He left his job, sold up, went to Australia and joined Sea Shepherd, an international organization protecting marine wildlife. He soon found himself in the middle of the war against the Japanese whaling fleet operating in the Antarctic whale sanctuary.
As the Japanese hunted whales, Laurens and the Sea Shepherd crews hunted them. Their boats are tiny for the wild Southern Ocean, and as well as dealing with the extreme weather they are repeatedly attacked by the Japanese crews and nearly shipwrecked by ice. On one mission, their boat is rammed, cut in two and sunk by a whaling ship. This is war, with no quarter given. Hunting the Hunters is an action-packed and timely account of one man's extraordinary life, as well as an ongoing battle against a powerful nation determined to get its way no matter the cost. It's an important subject, one that a lot of people care about, and because Laurens tells the story in his own words Hunting the Hunters is a compelling and insightful book.
Laurens de Groot, now 32, worked for Sea Shepherd for several years, travelling the world raising funds and spreading the word (appearing on Jay Leno and Larry King in the US, and featuring in Animal Planet's Whale Wars series). He is currently fighting rhino poachers in South Africa, using his law enforcement experience to help improve anti-poaching efforts.
"As the rest of the world stood by and watched, Laurens risked everything to defend these extraordinary mammals from extinction. A truly powerful and inspiring story."
– Susan Sarandon
"It's a risky business putting yourself between whale and harpoon but someone's got to do it! Gripping, real life adventure from a crewmember who served in the Whales' Navy. Reading of the cold, the ice, the enemy, and the whales who got away, you are there with the Sea Shepherd crew."
– Ingrid Newkirk, Co-founder and President of PETA
"The vast majority of people in the world make up the force that is driving species extinct not by the day but by the hour. Yet in spite of terrible odds and difficult conditions there is a small and dedicated number of people who are working selflessly to stem the rising tide of extinction. Laurens de Groot is one of them. Read his book and you will learn what it takes to lend a hand to reverse the extinction crisis, Mother of All Crises and you will be inspired to activism."
– Douglas Tompkins, conservationist and founder of outdoor brand The North Face
"An insightful and heartbreaking account of the daring crusades against illegal whalers. Shocking and utterly gripping, this books shows how one person can make a difference, and just how important that difference can be."
– Isabel Lucas, Actress and Environmental Activist
"The vast majority of people on this planet, whether they realize it or not, are living by killing. That's the primal image of life, with humankind and its casual killing – of each other, the environment, animals, insects, etc. And yet, there are also people on this planet who have evolved beyond this primal image of life, wherein living by killing has been transformed into living by loving. Such is the author of the book that you now hold in your hands."
– Shaun Monson, writer/director of Earthlings, winner Best Documentary Film at San Diego Film Festival
"You can't help but admire the sheer determination, unremitting spirit and extraordinary courage of de Groot and his fellow activists. A terrific and eye-opening book about life on the frontline and the people who risk everything in their desperate bid to stop the atrocities of commercial whaling."
– Mark Carwardine, zoologist, conservationist, presenter, photographer and writer
"Laurens is the living embodiment of my favorite strategy: Do unto others as they do unto others. The days of allowing whalers to destroy the greatest creatures – and cousin mammals no less! – just to show how big and tough they are should have been ended by governments. But because they didn't act, it's important to know what inspired Laurens to take his pursuit of justice from Holland to the oceans. This is his story. I hope it becomes as well known as Ulysses. Please read this book, and get others to do so ASAP!"
– Alex Lightman, futurist and winner of the first Economist Reader's Award for 'the innovation most likely to radically impact the world over the next decade'
"A powerful reminder of this ongoing battle against brutality and greed."
– The Lady
"an action-packed account [...] there's no denying the tension in descriptions of sabotage attacks on the whalers, nor de Groot's commitment to the cause."
– BBC Wildlife
"described with realism and passion [...] i would recommend it to anyone interested in conservation"