Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Savage Harvest by Carl Hoffman
Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art, Carl Hoffman. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014. e-book, 301 pps.
In 1961, Michael Rockefeller [a son of Nelson] as a young man set off to the wilds of New Guinea to collect tribal art from the Asmat peoples. This art is on display today. But the catamaran that he shared with anthropologist René Wassing got in trouble. René
stayed with it and was rescued. Michael Rockefeller was not so lucky. He swam to seek help among the Asmat along the shore. He was invited to stay for dinner.
Although the "official" version of what happened to Michael Rockefeller was cleaned up quite a bit according to the whims of the Roman Catholic Church and a Dutch politician, that wasn't at all how he met his death. The Rockefellers are not talking. The art that Michael Rockefeller is on display but also does not reference the true events. Nor does the court documents that declared him to be deceased.
sapphoq reviews says: Carl Hoffman set out to discover exactly how Michael Rockefeller met his death. He lived among the Asmat and discovered the indigestible truth. For those of us who relish historically accurate tales which warn against colonialism, highly recommended.