A lifelong friend of the Norwegian best known for his expedition to the South Pacific by raft presents him as explorer, scholar, child and man. Arnold Jacoby tells how a mama's darling came to pursue the primitive. In his twenties, he took his first wife Liv as a part of his experiment in the natural life to Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas. They were studying the Bella Coola Indians when war broke out; dangerous work in the Rockies gave way to dangerous service in Norway. In 1947, Heyerdahl took the opportunity to act on his theory that the Polynesians were settled from the Americas, and the Kon-Tiki expedition proceeded and succeeded, with attendant world reaction; after publishing his book, Heyerdahl had to fight for his scientific reputation, backstopped with a professional account. Later came Easter Island and Aku Aku. Heyerdahl ultimately achieved recognition as explorer-scholar, was variously honored. A clear account of an adventurous life which is an unusual meld of action and thought, closest to its subject in the formative years.