Exotica

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
Illustrated

Reviews

Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama

Judy Slattum

“A visual, spiritual and dramatic journey into the sacred rituals of Bali through a spectacular gallery of masks and the fascinating, multi-layered stories of Balinese performances and traditions.”

Publisher: Chronicle
Paperback: 132 pages
Illustrated

Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs

Michael D. Coe

“Companion volume to Michael D. Coe’s The Maya, revised and expanded in this fourth edition. Includes enlarged sections on early village life and the rise of the Olmec civilization. Extraordinary recent discoveries—such as the stela from La Mojarra inscribed in the mysterious Isthmian script, or the mass sacrifice of 200 victims at Teotihuacan —receive full coverage. A new chapter on Aztec life and society, based on fresh readings of the ethnohistorical sources, has also been added.”

Publisher: Thames and Hudson
Paperback: 215 pages
Illustrated

Net of Magic: Wonders and Deceptions in India

Lee Siegal

“This voyage through the netherworld of Indian magic unveils the contemporary world of the Indian magic of street and stage entertainers. Siegal’s journeys take him from ancient Sanskrit texts to the slums of New Delhi to find remarkable magical tradition… Intersperses travelog, history, ethnography and fiction. A world where deception is celebrated and lies are transformed into compelling and universal truths.”

Publisher: University of Chicago
Paperback: 455 pages
Illustrated

Noa Noa: The Tahitian Journal

Paul Gauguin

Girls! Girls! Girls! Gauguin fled “filthy Europe” for a romantic painter’s life in paradise: “Another week passed, and Tehura returned. Then a life filled to the full with happiness began. Happiness and work rose up together with the sun, radiant like it. The gold of Tehura’s face flooded the interior of our hut and the landscape round about with joy and light. She no longer studied me, and I no longer studied her. She no longer concealed her love from me, and I no longer spoke to her of my love. We lived, both of us, in perfect simplicity.” A fairy tale. GR

Publisher: Dover
Paperback: 65 pages
Illustrated

Nomads of Western Tibet: The Survival of a Way of Life

Melvyn C. Goldsmith and Cynthia M. Beall

A deep look into the harsh existence of the nomads of western Tibet. Some of the world’s most extreme climate can be found here, where tempertures can reach more than 100 degrees in summer and 15 to 30 degrees below zero on winter evenings. The nomadic way of life began about 10,000 years ago and has changed very little since. The nomads live in mobile tents, raise livestock and use or sell their by-products for survival. They migrate constantly to greener pastures, for the livestock rely solely on pastures of indigenous vegetation for food; hence the term “pastoralism” to describe the nomads’ way of life. The nomads collect skins and fleeces from yaks and sheep for wool and cashmere then travel to the marketplace to sell or trade for food and other necessities. The authors spent time living with the nomads, accompanying them on their journeys from home camp to pasture to marketplace and on hunting excursions. The data collected about the nomads of the Pala district “credit the nomads’ traditional pastoral system with maintaining the sensitive ecological balance necessary to guarantee its perpetuation for countless centuries.” Many color photos. DW

Publisher: University of California
Paperback: 200 pages
Illustrated

Oceanic Art

Nicholas Thomas

Thomas covers Oceanic art from prehistory to modern times by presenting illustrations of many artifacts used ceremonially and in everyday life. He explains the symbolism and recounts many of the myths depicted on the bark-cloth, buildings, mats and shields which are characteristic of the differing regions. “Looking beyond surfaces also means looking into the contexts… A carving that has human characteristics is not necessarily a ‘representation’ of a human being or an ancestor. It may be better understood as an embodiment of that ancestor, as one expression of that ancestor, or it may be a physical container that an ancestor or spirit can be induced to inhabit at certain times.” Includes 182 illustrations, 26 in color. TR

Publisher: Thames and Hudson
Paperback: 216 pages
Illustrated

Paradise Remade: The Politics of Culture and History in Hawaii

Elizabeth Buck

Using Marxist and Foucauldian theory Buck deconstructs the dominant myth of “Hawaii.” That is, she tells a history, not necessarily the history, of the islands from before contact with the West to the current resurgence of Hawaiian nationalism. While not a musicological text, Paradise Remade focuses on chant, hula and Hawaiian music as a way of “reading” the history of Hawaii. Music in general, and chants in particular, function as a continuing site of resistance—words and meanings being “the only things that Westerners could not appropriate” from Hawaiians. Paradise Remade is a heavily academic work, yet Buck does an admirable job of presenting the underlying theories in a manner that the general public can understand. Nevertheless, pleasure readers may find themselves wishing for a less analytical and more narrative style, as the fascinating subject matter is somewhat overwhelmed by its deeply theoretical framework. LP

Publisher: Temple University
Paperback: 242 pages

Paul Bowles by His Friends

Edited by Gary Pulsifier

What do Francis Bacon, William Burroughs, John Cage, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Patricia Highsmith, Peter Owen, James Purdy, Ned Rorem, Maria St. Just, Sir Stephen Spender and Gore Vidal have in common? Paul Bowles, apparently. Whether in Berlin in the ‘30s, New York in the ‘40s or the years since in Tangiers, Bowles has known a veritable who’s who of writers, painters, journalists and publishers. Offering a collection of anecdotes and reminiscences, this work presents a composite portrait of this complex yet reticent figure. Whether through Cage’s word puzzle, or Bacon’s and Burroughs’ conversational remarks about Jane Bowles’ electro-shock treatments, a fuller portrait of Paul Bowles emerges while the contributors offer glimpses of themselves. In describing Bowles, Patricia Highsmith relates: “One has the feeling that Paul Bowles sees life as it is: meaningless in the long run, sees humans as indifferent to suffering and death as is mother nature herself. Paul looks at it steadily and tells it simply.” An intriguing addition to the writings of and about Bowles, this book provides an interestingly oblique overview of this legendary figure. JAT

Publisher: Peter Owen
Paperback: 160 pages
Illustrated

Paul Bowles Photographs: How Could I Send a Picture into the Desert

Paul Bowles

An adroitly subversive collection of “souvenir snapshots” taken by Bowles in El Aougherout, a small village in North Africa, from the 1940s through the 1960s, centering on various aspects of daily life: the marketplace, the region’s proud male inhabitants, its gorgeous landscapes and architecture, the winding streets and beaches, personal friends and literary peers. The reader may find that a subtle yet vivid internal “hum” develops after perusing the entire sequence of photos in one sitting; an exotic/erotic undertone (the ominous mountains and desert backdrops, the back alleys, those two strapping youths in swimsuits mugging for the camera… ) not unlike that produced by much of Bowles’ fiction. Replete with a detailed introductory essay by Bischoff and a lengthy, informative interview culled from the author’s conversations with Bischoff between 1989 and 1991. Clearly a painstaking labor of love on the part of its editor, this book is a revealing, intimate glimpse into the world of a major writer notorious for his reticence working in a non-verbal medium. MDG

Publisher: DAP
Hardback: 256 pages
Illustrated

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Rapanui: Tradition of Survival on Easter Island

Grant McCall

“Presents the details of how Easter Island came to be what it is today. Rapanui is the absorbing story of the survival of an ingenious population of scarcely 3,000 people who cling to the rocky home they love. The book’s first part offers a concise outline of the latest discoveries in the prehistory and history of Rapa Nui. Later chapters on contemporary life flow around the familiar concepts of family and group, belief, earning a living, relations with one’s kin and with strangers. The final chapter describes the most recent changes and concludes with ideas about what the next millennium might bring to the people of the world’s most remote island.”

Publisher: University of Hawaii
Paperback: 207 pages
Illustrated