MY FRIENDS, THE NEW GUINEA HEADHUNTERS by Benjamin T. Butcher

MY FRIENDS, THE NEW GUINEA HEADHUNTERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mr. Butcher, an English missionary, was attracted to New Guinea when a friend his was decapitated there by headhunters in 1901. (His friend had a friend who was by the cannibals, joint by joint.) The headhunters are literally named, or were, for the incursions of two wars and varied governments have done much to alter the customary bill of fare among these latter-day Stone Agers. Much that was picturesque and wonderful has vanished, Mr. Butcher ways, and much that is evil has been imported. Although he admires the bravery of Anglican missionaries, he deplores their modes of enforcing dogma. He had volunteered for service with the London Missionary Society and did not consider any single faith the True Faith. He soon found himself serving as doctor, dentist, builder, carpenter, sailor and teacher in his district. Surprisingly, the tribe that killed his friend took him in with open arms. After some years, Mr. Butcher married an Australian and set up housekeeping in the bush as partners in a Christian adventure. Despite the gains his mission brought to the headhunters, the onrush of civilization also brought disease and debauchery. He was proudest of his translation of the Four Gospels into tribal dialect. Well written.

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 1964
Publisher: Doubleday