Beyond the Coral Sea: Travels in the Old Empires of the South-West Pacific

Beyond the Coral Sea: Travels in the Old Empires of the South-West Pacific

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by Michael Moran
     
 

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Travels in the Old Empires of the South-West Pacific

East of Java, west of Tahiti and north of the Cape York peninsula of Australia lie the unknown paradise islands of the Coral, Solomon and Bismarck Seas. They were perhaps the last inhabited place on earth to be explored by Europeans, and even today many remain largely unspoilt, despite the former presence of

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Travels in the Old Empires of the South-West Pacific

East of Java, west of Tahiti and north of the Cape York peninsula of Australia lie the unknown paradise islands of the Coral, Solomon and Bismarck Seas. They were perhaps the last inhabited place on earth to be explored by Europeans, and even today many remain largely unspoilt, despite the former presence of German, British and even Australian colonial rulers.

Michael Moran, a veteran traveller, begins his journey on the island of Samarai, historic gateway to the old British Protectorate, as the guest of the benign grandson of a cannibal. He explores the former capitals of German New Guinea and headquarters of the disastrous New Guinea Compagnie, its administrators decimated by malaria and murder. He travels along the inaccessible Rai Coast through the Archipelago of Contented Men, following in the footsteps of the great Russian explorer 'Baron' Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay.

The historic anthropological work of Bronislaw Malinowski guides him through the seductive labyrinth of the Trobriand 'Islands of Love' and the erotic dances of the yam festival. Darkly humorous characters, both historical and contemporary, spring vividly to life as the author steers the reader through the richly fascinating cultures of Melanesia.

'Beyond the Coral Sea' is a captivating voyage of unusual brilliance and a memorable evocation of a region which has been little written about during the past century.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Australian writer Moran's narrative begins with a discussion of cannibal etiquette, but his work exploring Papua New Guinea is far more substantial than that, deconstructing the generalizations made about this strange and picturesque locale. One of the last places to be explored by Europeans, the Melanesian islands and culture offer up the stuff of great narrative then-magic, myth, and natural beauty-and great tragedy now-alcoholism, tribal fighting, crime, and corruption. Moran does a nice job of weaving the diaries and letters of previous explorers and visitors into his current descriptions, painting a comprehensive picture of a society coming to grips with a magical and violent past, sudden transition from Stone Age to modernity, and equally sudden independence from Australia in 1975. The result is a wonderful and tragic portrait of a place one may not want to visit but will certainly want to read about. A fairly extensive bibliography and index make the work appropriate for student researchers of anthropology and indigenous cultures. Recommended for all libraries with travel collections.-Mari Flynn, Glendale Community Coll., AZ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780006552352
Publisher:
HarperCollins UK
Publication date:
05/01/2004
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 7.82(h) x 1.18(d)

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