A naturalist whose early years were spent in South Caledonia has undertaken to interpret in factual- and sometimes disillusioning fashion- those islands of the South Seas that he knows intimately in his pursuit of knowledge. No rose-colored spectacles for him, not even in fabled Tahiti. He takes area after area of Oceania, New Guinea, the small islands, New Hebrides and the Solomons, Polynesia, Samoa. There's historical, anthropological, geological, biographical information. And there's a tragic commentary on what so-called western civilization has done to destroy the balance of nature, the economic survival, the human potentials in virtually every spot they have infected. The record is punctuated and highlighted with anecdotal material, his own experiences, legendary data, descriptive bits about native customs- but this is not enough to offset the unsavory aftertaste of the degeneration of these South Seas paradises.