The co-author, with William Lederer, of The Ugly American has written a personal account of the South Pacific where he fought in the war and in which he has traveled for a number of years. In part this tells of the natural characteristics of Oceania:- the Pacific currents, the life and geography of the ocean depths, the birds, winds and weather and the two types of islands -- the coral atoll with the teeming sea life which is constantly creating it and tearing it away, and the volcanic island with its dangerous, luxuriant rain jungle. It is also a comparative portrait of the peoples of Oceania:- the Malay, the black Melanesian, the brown Micronesian, the lighter Polynesian, and the Australian aborigene. The influence of the white man on the South Pacific is most interestingly assessed whether he has come as explorer, missionary, soldier or escapist. The expositional chapters are interspersed with a few fictionalized episodes which are overbalanced by the effective reportage. He has refreshing doubts about the extent to which someone from another society can be happy in these deceptively idyllic islands. Almost a must for those succumbing to the siren song of Tahiti.