Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Kon-Tiki

Kon-Tiki, by Thor Heyerdahl
ISBN: 0671726528
Thor Heyerdahl was a Norwegian scientist with a crazy theory: he claimed that the Polynesian Islands were settled thousands of years BC by travelers from the coast of South America who sailed there using balsa wood rafts. This exciting and informative work of non-fiction recounts his attempts to prove his theory by reconstructing their ancient voyages on the Kon-Tiki, a tiny raft of his own.
It's true that the artwork of the Polynesian Islands does bear a startling resemblance to the culture of the Incan Empire of ancient 
Peru. Still, the idea that people might have traversed thousands of miles on the unpredictable South Pacific, centuries before the earliest known sailing ships were invented does seem a little far-fetched. So he set out to prove that it could be done.
What an adventure! Heyerdahl and his team departed from the coast of Peru in 1947, on a small ship built of balsa logs, nearly impossible to steer, on a 101 day voyage before crashing onto the shores of French Polynesia. 
The team encounters terrifying storms, vast expanses of empty ocean; and even gets into a fight with a whale shark, a creature 
weighing fifteen tons with over three thousand teeth.
The team spends time on a small, deserted island, trying to reach help by radio. When they tell an amateur radio enthusiast that they're lost in the South Pacific, he thinks they're joking and changes the channel. Classic Gilligan's Island, in other words.
I've never been in the South Pacific and know nothing of sailing, and was refreshed to find that Heyerdahl doesn't weigh his tale down with too many mariner's details. His story is quite exhilarating, and is 
written to be enjoyed by a leisure reader, not by naval experts.
Since its publication in 1950, Kon-Tiki has sold more than 30 million copies, and is now widely considered a classic of science and adventure. Many anthropologists are now convinced that South Americans did, indeed, settle in the Polynesian Islands, where their culture may have influenced the famous granite monuments on Easter Island.
Whether his theories are true or not, this is a terrific summer thrill ride.

1 comment:

Fotos PPF said...

Muito obrigado pelo seu elogio, fiquei feliz. Grande Abraço. Fotos PPF