THE HIDDEN WORLDS OF POLYNESIA by Robert C. Suggs

THE HIDDEN WORLDS OF POLYNESIA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The young archaeologist-author of Island Civilization of Polynesia (Mentor, 1960) made his first trip to the Pacific Islands in 1956 as a graduate student. He returned, this time to the French governed island of Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas group, a year later. This is a chronicle of what he learned: a product of his excavations but also a product of living, with his wife, among the natives of a civilization more than two thousand years old, once flourishing, now devastated beyond hope of salvage. Responsibility for this destruction of a culture, he says, rests with intolerant French missionaries, and although he writes with frequent charm he can also snarl when he wants to. Another of his targets is Thor Heyerdahl, ""well known science fictioneer"" of Kon-Tiki fame, whose theory of the Peruvian origins of Polynesians he treats with considerable contempt. But interesting as his polemics and archaeological explorations are, readers will be most delighted and saddened by his portrait of a free and happy society gone to ruin. Suggs writes of the Marquesans with sympathy and perception and makes their lost life seem a loss indeed.

Pub Date: July 25th, 1962
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World