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Savage Harvest : A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art - Carl Hoffman

Savage Harvest

A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art

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Published: 23rd July 2014
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Published: 23rd July 2014
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The mysterious disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in New Guinea in 1961 has kept the world and his powerful, influential family guessing for years. Now, Carl Hoffman uncovers startling new evidence that finally tells the full, astonishing story.

Despite exhaustive searches, no trace of Rockefeller was ever found. Soon after his disappearance, rumours surfaced that he'd been killed and ceremonially eaten by the local Asmat—a native tribe of warriors whose complex culture was built around sacred, reciprocal violence, head hunting and ritual cannibalism. The Dutch government and the Rockefeller family denied the story, and Michael's death was officially ruled a drowning. Yet doubts lingered. Sensational rumours and stories circulated, fuelling speculation and intrigue for decades. The real story has long waited to be told—until now.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

Did I mention survivors before? Hmm, well maybe not in every case this month. This is the truly fascinating story of the scion of the Rockefeller family who went off to Papua New Guinea to collect artefacts among the Asmat people and disappeared. The Asmat being proud head-hunters, you can guess what the speculation is about how Rockefeller met his end, despite theories about sharks and crocodiles.

This rich fodder is not a new story by any means. But it’s told here with fresh eyes and new evidence based on research collected first hand by the author who spent considerable time with the Asmat tribes, understanding their culture and their complex spirituality and traditions.

About the Author

Carl Hoffman is a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler. Savage Harvest is his third book. His second, The Lunatic Express: Discovering the World Via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains and Planes, was named one of the ten best books of 2010 by the Wall Street Journal and was a New York Times summer reading pick. He has won four Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation and one North American Travel Journalism Award. A veteran journalist and former contributing editor for Wired, he has travelled to more than 70 countries on assignment for Outside, Smithsonian, National Geographic Adventure, ESPN, the Magazine, Wired, Men's Journal, Popular Mechanics and many other publications. He is a native of Washington, D.C. and the father of three children.

'The most brilliantly told adventure to come out of New Guinea.' -- Tim Flannery 'Savage Harvest is a gripping read, and though Hoffman's conclusion may be familiar, he's erected a solid foundation of reporting that goes far beyond what the rest of us did and is likely to make this the definitive account.' Slate 'A taut thriller...Hoffman goes further than anyone in describing the charged political backdrop and the dynamics of Asmat society that surrounded Rockefeller's disappearance...in this gripping book.' New York Times 'In an expertly told tale begging for a film adaptation, Hoffman crafts a remarkable, balanced examination of this sensational case...[He] deserves much credit for this riveting, multilayered tale.' Publishers Weekly 'In his terrific and often gruesome new book, Savage Harvest, travel journalist Carl Hoffman, who lives in Washington, reopens the case, travelling to Papua New Guinea and coming back with a riveting tale.' Washington Post 'Carl Hoffman once-and-for-all solves the mystery of where the search went wrong, who the Asmat people are, and what really happened to Michael Rockefeller.' Men's Journal 'An opening that is so intense, so captivating, so interesting that no human with a beating heart can put the book down...Compelling. Intoxicating. Sensational.' Newsweek 'An extraordinary, blood-curdling, true-life thriller...[Hoffman] provides a remarkable picture of the mysterious forces behind this still largely unknown culture.' Weekend Herald 'First-rate journalistic non-fiction...an intriguing tale.' Saturday Age 'One of the most fascinating reads in recent times...Fluid and riveting...an absorbing and compelling read.' Otago Daily Times 'Carefully researched, oddly evocative and beautifully written.' Weekend Australian 'Grimly fascinating' Listener

ISBN: 9781922182500
ISBN-10: 1922182508
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 23rd July 2014
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.4  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 23.5