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


The Third Eye: Race, Cinema and Ethnographic Spectacle

Fatimah Tobing Rony

“Charting the intersection of technology and ideology, cultural production and social science, this book explores early-20th-century representations of non-Western indigenous people in films ranging from the documentary to the spectacular to the scientific. Turning the gaze of the ethnographic camera back onto itself, this book brings the perspective of a third eye to bear on the invention of the primitive Other, revealing the collaboration of anthropology and popular culture in Western construction of race, gender, nation and empire.”

Publisher: Duke University
Paperback: 299 pages

The Traditional Architecture of Indonesia

John Gillow and Barry Dawson

“Based on extensive firsthand research, this volume provides an island-by-island examination of the history, materials, traditions and techniques of Indonesian building forms. Supported by explanatory drawings and historical photographs, the illustrations are mostly in color and have been specially photographed by Barry Dawson. The highlights are photos taken from the balconies of the spectacular hill villages of south Nias which were inspired by the bulbous poopdecks of Dutch galleons, and the chief’s great house, the omo sebua, at Bawamataluo.”

Publisher: Thames and Hudson
Hardback: 192 pages

Trance and Healing in Southeast Asia Today

Ruth-Inge Heinze

“Looks at the role of faith in Southeast Asian belief systems and investigates the needs which created these systems. Shamans, mediums and healers monitor trances and mediate between different levels of consciousness for the purpose of healing. In 21 case studies, the reader will observe a Meo shamaness riding into the spirit world and the god Rama descending into the body of a simple Indian worker. Also shows how Thai, Hindu, Malay as well as Chinese mediums with the help of various deities, deified heroes and nature spirits—cure, exorcise and advise their clients. Special attention is given to the topic of automatic writing and glossolalia.”

Publisher: White Lotus
Paperback: 406 pages

Travels in the Unknown East

John Grant

The author made two trips through the Middle East in the period after World War I when the British and the French were present, and even the United States was being asked to assume some sort of control over the Ottoman grant. Both these political happenings and the people the author encountered create a dramatic backdrop for the journeys. In Istanbul, Ankara, Lebanon and Syria, he meets Sufi mystics, Druse believers, sheiks who can help or hinder the traveler, dope smugglers (all over), historical figures like Kemal Atatürk (the great general and founder of the modern Turkish state), and caravan guides who make the desert their home. Written 50 years after the events took place, this is a vivid picture of a lost era. MET

Publisher: Octagon
Hardback: 198 pages

Voyages of Discovery

Captain James Cook

“It was now just eight o’clock, when we were alarmed by the discharge of a volley of small arms from Captain Cook’s people, and a violent shout of the Indians… Captain Cook and four marines had fallen in this confounded fray.” So writes James King from his vantage aboard ship, upon taking over captaincy of the Resolution after James Cook was slain by provoked Hawaiian natives in 1779. One eyewitness declaims that “matters would not have been carried to the extremities they were, had not Captain Cook… first unfortunately fired.”
In the eyes of the traditional historian, this event is the tragic death of a hero, akin to the slaughter of Orpheus by hysterical Bacchantes; yet for revisionist champions of native peoples, the repulsion of the English becomes a temporary victory for the people of Kealakekua Bay. A reprint of an 1860 compilation by naval historian John Barrow, this concise edition condenses four tomes of Admiralty records by excising navigational details, thus offering an eminently readable narrative. Highlights include: Cook’s discovery of Australia during his first voyage, resulting in the British Crown’s decision to establish a penal colony at Botany Bay; the events leading up to Cook’s demise during his fated third voyage, including a stranger-than-fiction account of how the Kealakekuan natives mistook him for an earthly manifestation of the god Lono; and Cook’s painstaking descriptions of Tahitian and New Zealand natives during his second voyage.
In these descriptions of natives and their customs, the heart of the Voyages, Cook displays a nearly modern sophistication. Resisting the romantic racism of the 18th century, he assiduously refuses to treat natives as noble savages, children of nature, or heathen devils. Barrow illustrates this sensitivity by juxtaposing another contemporary description of Tierra del Fuegans (“perfectly nude, wild and shaggy… like so many fiendish imps”) with Cook’s more humanitarian perspective (“These people appeared on the whole to be the outcasts of human nature; their only food was shellfish; and they were destitute of every convenience arising from the rudest art”).
Although relentlessly mild by today’s standards, the Voyages were immensely popular, consistently titillating readers from their first publication through the 19th century. Just as those who wanted to see naked men and women in the pre-Playboy era would look through National Geographic, many would turn to the Voyages of Discovery to read about the promiscuity, license and nudity of natives. HS

Publisher: Academy Chicago
Paperback: 555 pages

The Way of the Masks

Claude Lévi-Strauss

Explores the cultures of the various coastal peoples of British Columbia and Alaska. Even though this might seem a relatively small and specific area, the diversity of these cultures is boundless. This book focuses on the aspects of ceremonial masks and the meanings they depict. The masks, as they are used to communicate with neighboring tribes, provide a context for assessing their comparative belief systems. Most interesting is that so little geography can yield such a diversity of myth, ceremony, values and beliefs. Maps and charts scattered throughout the text showing the relative proximity of the tribes to each other and to natural resources further serve to illustrate this point. Much of the lore and artifacts are relatively recent in the greater scheme of world history but spring from sources that date back to prehistory. SA

Publisher: University of Washington
Paperback: 249 pages

Wood Carvings of Bali

Fred Eiseman, Jr. and Margaret Eiseman

“An introduction to the ancient Balinese wood-carving tradition, offering a history of the craft from the early Buddhist influences, through the classical period, to the modern period.”

Publisher: Weatherhill
Hardback: 88 pages

Yanomamö: The Last Days of Eden

Napoleon A. Chagnon

Chagnon first made contract with the Yanomamö, a now-imperiled tribe of Amazon Indians, in 1964. A look at an extraordinary people in this eloquent, meticulously detailed and often passionate book.

Publisher: Harvest
Paperback: 309 pages