He tells of a tribe whose name in translation means "I Will Kill You"

Conversations with the Cannibals

Michael Kreiger

Kreiger's encounters with a crooked preacher on Palmerston, former cannibals on Malekula, a sourcer on Ambrym, cargo cultists on Tanna, tribal warriors on Malaaita, and the dauntless missionaries of Batuna provide glimpses of passing ways of life on the Cook Islands.

His account of the desecration of the Kwaio by fundamentalist missionaries and their own government is perhaps a sad last chapter in 200 years of European exploitation in this part of the world – David Stanley

Publisher: Ecco
Hardback: 228 pages


“A Trade Like Any Other”: Female Singers and Dancers in Egypt

Karin van Nieuwkerk

“Drawn from extensive fieldwork and enriched with the life stories of entertaining and nightclub performers, this is the first ethnography of female singers and dancers in present-day Egypt.”

Publisher: University of Texas
Paperback: 240 pages

A Fez of the Heart: Travels Around Turkey in Search of a Hat

Jeremy Seal

“Inspired by a dusty fez in his parents’ attic, Seal set off in 1993 to trace the astonishing history of this cone-shaped hat. Soon, the quintessentially Turkish headgear became the key to understanding a country beset by contradictions. Seal’s investigations took him from the fez-topped headstones of Istanbul’s ghostly cemeteries to the remote town on the Black Sea where Atatürk, the father of modern Turkey, first banned the fez in 1925. From there Seal traveled around the country, visiting eastern cities where intractable fez wearers were once hanged, exploring the troubled Kurdish southeast and watching the production of fez-shaped hats for whirling dervishes in the mystical central city of Konya. The result of his unusual journey is an engaging and agile mix of history and travel, politics and reportage.”

Publisher: Harcourt Brace
Paperback: 334 pages

Adventures in Arabia

William Buehler Seabrook

“Seabrook dreamed of going to Arabia from the time he was a child in the 1880s. After college, he scraped his way across Europe and got as far as Naples, where he fell ill and was forced to return to the United States. It was not until years later, in the 1920s, that Seabrook fulfilled his dream. He traveled and lived among various desert tribes, producing this vivid account of their customs and beliefs.”

Publisher: Marlowe
Paperback: 347 pages

Arabian Fairy Tales

Amina Shah

A rich collection of Arabian folklore about dervishes, sultans, peasants and magicians. These tales of adventure, enchantment and strange twists of fate have been culled from around the campfires of several nomadic tribes throughout the Middle East. Passed down from past generations to the present day, these stories have been collected and retold by Amina Shah, chairwoman of the College of Storytellers in England and descendent of an ancient Afghan family of writers and savants. Anyone who lost themselves in The Arabian Nights will surely enjoy this fine example of the eldest art form known to humankind. MDH

Publisher: Octagon
Paperback: 204 pages

At the End of the Rainbow? Gold, People and Land in the Brazilian Amazon

Gordon MacMillan

“Explains how gold fever came to grip the Amazon and considers the changes brought to the region by the gold rush. Contains a vivid account of the violent clash between 40,000 miners and the Yanamami Indians in the state of Roraima, as well as thoroughly researched arguments which explore the perspectives of the farmers, ranchers, natives and others involved in this historic moment.”

Publisher: Columbia University
Paperback: 201 pages

Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey

Isabel Fonseca

“Fabled, feared, romanticized and reviled, the Gypsies—or Roma—are among the least understood people on earth. Now a diaspora of twelve million, their culture remains largely obscure… Alongside unforgettable portraits of individuals—the poet, the politician, the child prostitute—this book offers sharp insights into the humor, language, wisdom and taboos of the Roma, tracing their exodus out of India 1,000 years ago and their astonishing history of persecution: enslaved by the princes of medieval Romania; massacred by the Nazis; forcibly assimilated by the communist regimes; and, most recently, evicted from their settlements by nationalist mobs throughout the new ‘democracies’ of Eastern Europe.”

Publisher: Vintage
Paperback: 322 pages

Cargo Cult: Strange Stories of Desire From Melanesia and Beyond

Lamont Lindstrom

This is a history of the cargo cults of Melanesia and an intellectual history of an idea. “There is something about cargo cult…” Lindstrom, an anthropologist at the University of Tulsa, writes. “It evokes an intellectual frisson, a faint thrill, an uneasy glee… It palpates and animates our own diffuse but powerful discourses of desire and of love, particularly the melancholy of unrequited love.” Cargo cult means different things to different people, from the romantic tourist’s notion of a bunch of Melanesians in grass skirts waiting for LBJ to come down from the mountain bearing refrigerators, to the academic’s too-easy love affair with “postmodern deconstructions.” Even the Melanesians can’t agree on what cargo means. But what really makes cargo cult resonate in Western minds, as is clear in this book, is that the Melanesians’ impressionistic yet systematic apprehension of Western cultural precepts, reflected back at us whole in caricature, is tantamount to an objective outsider’s cultural critique of our very own world view. Basically, the cultists’ response to us answers the proverbial question: If a bunch of Martians landed in Cincinnati right now and had a good look around, what would they possibly make of what they saw? “Could it be…” Lindstrom writes, “that we are entranced by cargo cults because we are, at heart, commodity fetishists?… We want cargo, but we know also, at heart, that the moral connections that the dominant capitalist rhetoric asserts between hard work and material success are fraudulent and ultimately illusory. Our commodities are equally supernaturally alienated as Melanesian cargo.” HJ

Publisher: University of Hawaii
Paperback: 246 pages

Conversations With the Cannibals: The End of the Old South Pacific

Mike Krieger

“Warmly accommodating a wide variety of island customs and more, Krieger grounds every fact in vital human experience. He explores two Melanesian and two Polynesian countries where islanders still live according to old traditions. Krieger is the only living person to interview members of different cannibal tribes and to discuss with them the subject of cannibalism. He tells of tribes whose name in translation means ‘I will kill you,’ and of a powerful ex-minister whose tyrannical control of a remote island evokes images from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.”

Publisher: Ecco
Hardback: 228 pages


Adriana Williams

“A sparkling account of Rosa and Miguel Covarrubias’ life and times. Begins with Miguel’s birth in 1904 and follows the brilliant early flowering of his artistic career as a renowned caricaturist for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, his meeting and marriage to Rosa at the height of her New York dancing career, and their many years of professional collaboration on projects ranging from dance to anthropology to painting and art collecting to the development of museums to preserve Mexico’s pre-Columbian heritage.”

Publisher: University of Texas
Hardback: 352 pages

The Dances of Africa

Michel Huet

Coffee-table tribute to the colorful, toe-tapping tribes of Africa. “From 1945 to 1985, from Senegal to the Congo Basin, from the Sahara to the Gulf of Benin, Michel Huet photographed African life, especially the age-old rituals and ceremonies enacted to the beat of drums, the chant of voices and the urgent movement of bodies. His unique images, accompanied by ethnographer Claude Savary’s sensitive texts, are a stunning testimonial to these rapidly vanishing cultural traditions as well as a lasting document of the essence of African dance.” Includes the Dogan, who tell the mythical story of mankind in their 3-meter-high painted plank masks; the Samo, in their cowry-shell-and-feather rain-making costumes; and the Bwa people of Boni, in their bushy garb of leaves and branches, cleansing the world of man’s impurities. GR

Publisher: Abrams
Hardback: 172 pages