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4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  14,660 Ratings  ·  781 Reviews
Five men in search of a mythical hero journey from Peru to Polynesia in this classic account of nautical adventure.

This enriched classic edition includes:

Detailed explanatory notes
Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work
A unique visual essay of the voyage
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 1990 by Rand McNally (first published 1948)
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Mihai Thor Heyerdahl was a world-famous anthropologist and you'll find out how he came up with this theory by reading his book. I personally found it quite…moreThor Heyerdahl was a world-famous anthropologist and you'll find out how he came up with this theory by reading his book. I personally found it quite convincing. One clue: the name of the potato is the same in South-America's old civilizations as in Polynesia, where it is intensively grown. But this is only one among many other things which support his theory.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Erik Graff
Feb 22, 2013 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: want-to-be adventurers, sailors
Recommended to Erik by: Anne-Lise Graff
Shelves: travel
Every Norwegian family we knew had a copy of this book on their shelves. I read it with much familial encouragement at an early age, mostly as a travel adventure, which it is, and not so much with any regard for the scientific hypothesis the author was testing. Aku-Aku followed soon thereafter.

In 1978, in the summer following seminary graduation, I was invited by mother to visit her in Oslo before moving from New York City back to Chicago. It was a great trip filled with many memorable events. O
Dec 09, 2008 Mukikamu rated it it was amazing
Is there a greater classic among adventure books than the reckless Thor Heyerdahl’s story about a 104 day long raft ride through the Pacific in 1947? It is just as crazy as it is heroic and makes your jaw drop everytime. The 6 men fighting the elements on a hand-made balsa wood vesel are at the mercy of the acient Gods of South America and the Pacific. Encounters with wonderful Verne-like creatures of the sea bring the Pacific to life. Squids and giant sharks are right under your feet, fish and ...more
Mar 23, 2008 Blair rated it it was amazing
A crazy man with a migration theory tries to convince his Scandinavian buddies to float across the Pacific with him on a balsa wood raft in order to give credence to the theory. As they value adventure more than their lives, they are persuaded to join.

Follow his trail from the conception of the theory to the felling of the balsa wood trees, and from the launching of the craft to its disastrous landing on a fragile South Pacific island.

This is the story of Thor Heyerdahl's original voyage. He wou
May 15, 2010 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has captivated me for almost thirty years. I recommend it highly, both for those loving adventure yarns and those interested in anthropology. Whenever you watch a show on the Discovery Channel, History, NatGeo, etc., like as not if the person hosting actually goes out to try something the ancients did, he or she owes a debt to Heyerdahl, who helped 'kill' armchair anthropology, and science, really. Kon-Tiki is the book that chronicles the critical moment.
Jan 07, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: True adventure fans
Recommended to Michael by: Had never heard of it. Happened on it at the Old Book Barn, Deca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 12, 2010 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Super fun read, great travel book.

Favorite passage:

"Sometimes, too, we went out in the rubber boat to look at ourselves by night. Coal-black seas towered up on all sides, and a glittering myriad of tropical stars drew a faint reflection from plankton in the water. The world was simple - stars in the darkness. Whether it was 1947 BC or AD suddenly became of no significance. We lived, and that we felt with alert intensity. We realized that life had been full for men before the technical age also
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 27, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, history, adventure
What's in the book cover is correct: "once you start reading this, you cannot put it down". It's an excellent adventure non-fiction book and when I saw Aku-Aku in Booksale, I bought it right away. The vivid narration was so effective that I could actually smell the sea while reading the novel. This was published in 1950 but it is still exciting and informative. I had no chance yet to go the Polynesian islands and South America but after reading the book, I thought I could visualize those places. ...more
Huda Aweys
أمثال هؤلاء هم من يكتبون التاريخ ..
مبدأيا مشكلتنا مع أصحاب الحضارات القديمة كانت دايما قصور تخيلنا بخصوصهم .. واللي بيصورهم لنا دايما في شكل كاريكاتوري بيرضي غرورنا بالإرتقاء والتطور ! ، .. حوار التطور دا اساسا عمل لنا مشاكل كبيرة في التواصل الحقيقي مع تاريخنا البشري
البشر زمان هم هم البشر الآن .. امتلكوا نفس العقل ونفس الإرادة ، وتطورنا عنهم الآن هو تطور طبيعي نتج عن تراكم معرفي .. تراكم معارفهم اللي سجلوها و(وصلت لنا) على معرفتنا الآنية .. لا أكثر و لا أقل
فكرة مجنونة + روح مغامرة :
Feb 12, 2008 Annalisa rated it liked it
Recommended to Annalisa by: Kelly Olsen
When nobody believed his theory that the Polynesian islands were settled by travelers from Peru because they had no boats, Thor set out to prove his theory by building his own raft ala early Peruvian civilization and sailing across the Pacific. What amazed me was his determination and optimism. When naval officials inspected the raft prior to departure and insisted he was sailing off to his eminent death and he abort, instead of being discouraged or fearful, Thor was confident his expedition wou ...more
Jun 01, 2013 Martha rated it it was amazing
What makes this classic such a great adventure story is the way it is told. The author never seems to take himself too seriously, even though it is obvious that a lot of research and planning went into the journey. He's no fool, even if he's a little foolhardy. He just manages to understate the level of detail that went into his plan, revealing it bit by bit as the successful journey proves that the choices made in planning worked. He and his 5 partners on the raft are young, fit, and full of t ...more
Jun 19, 2007 Meg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Part of this book was included in my sixth grade literature reader. After we read it, I swore that I was going to find it and read the whole thing. I finally did, but not until I was about 23 or so!

At any rate, it's a story so inspiring, one man's dreams and theories put to the test, I think everyone should read it. Makes me want to sale across the ocean on a big raft!!
A movie was made based on this book.

From IMDB:
Legendary explorer Thor Heyerdal's epic 4,300-mile crossing of the Pacific on a balsawood raft in 1947, in an effort to prove that it was possible for South Americans to settle in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.
Quang Khuê
Chán óm, chả có cái gì đáng quan tâm cả.
Did pretty much every Gen-X'er grow up staring at this book on the shelf? Was it next to The Prophet and under a poster of Johnathan Livingston Seagull? Additionally, my dad was very into carving Easter Island statues out of railroad chalk...cute story, but I am going to slam Mr. Heyerdahl in a moment and Easter Island and those statues (Moai) figure into that.

OK, so the good: Heyerdahl is a great writer. I am not really into boats or boating and I live by a's a big one, natural, but t
Madhulika Liddle
Sometime in the 1930s, Norwegian ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl, then living on an island in the Marquesas, heard an interesting tale from an old man who spoke of the legends regarding the origins of the Polynesians. He told of a divine ancestor named Tiki, who arrived in a boat. Intrigued, Heyerdahl did further research, looking at everything from the presence of coconuts in Polynesia to the resemblance between the Easter Island statues and the statues of Peru and around, and came to what most dis ...more
Dec 29, 2009 Whitfield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was inspirational for several reasons: his action-oriented approach, his modest but amusing storytelling, and his personal relation to our family.

In building a team of crew-members, constructing the Kon-Tiki raft, and then sailing it from Peru to the Polynesian islands, Thor reminds me what it means to be bravely engage life. He shows us all the power of meeting our fears and challenges eye-to-eye. I had a chance to hear him speak before he passed away, and it was obvious he was a man
Oct 18, 2016 Heman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I can't quite put my finger on what's wrong with this book and the narrative. It is not gripping, (not to me at least) it is old fashioned (for example peppered with 1940s constant racial remarks,)involves a good deal of ignorance of marine biology (well, it's just before the Jacques Cousteau era) and the arguments that Heyerdahl makes about Kon-Tiki are too fantastic and full of erroneous convictions, generalizations and too many assumptions, which are obvious even to a layman like myself. The ...more
Sep 02, 2014 Ahmed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, adventure

كتاب مذهل وممتع جدا
كنت عارف Thor Heyerdahl من كتابات أنيس منصور
و عرفت قصة كون تيكي من كتاب أعجب الرحلات في التاريخ
و لما لقيت الكتاب ده قررت أشتريه بلا تردد
وكأننى كنت الرجل السابع على متن الطوف
الفكرة إن ثور عالم أجناس بشرية و كان عايز يثبت إن أهل جزر المحيط الهادي هاجروا من أمريكا الجنوبية مش من آسيا كما كان شائعا
فقرر أنه يسافر من امريكا الجنوبية لجزر المحيط الهادي على طوف من خشب البالسا كما فعل أهل المحيط من آلاف السنين
و الفيلم التسجيلى اللى صوره تور هايردال أثناء الرحلة نفسهاأخد جائزة الأوسكار
Apr 20, 2008 Cassandra rated it it was amazing
Having read this book on a catamaran with a broken engine limping its way from Miami to Panama, I think I have an interesting viewpoint on the stories. I found myself reading passages out loud over and over again, remarking on the sheer insanity of this man and his companions.

Baiting sharks, drifting along currents on a raft he had no idea was going to hold together, living on a diet of whatever they could catch to supplement's startling and a fantastic adventure. I also found my
Jun 02, 2008 Jo rated it it was amazing
This book was such an adventure! Not only was it full of interesting theories and facts, but it was a story told by a supreme storyteller.

It is the true account of six men who, when no professor or institution of higher learning would publish their academic theories on the origin of the Polynesian people (because no one could believe that Peruvians in 500 AD had the technology to travel across the wide pacific), travelled by RAFT (made of logs and nails or chains) from Peru to the Sou
Sep 26, 2009 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
My fifth grader self filled in this rating. This book informed my daydreams and supplemented those at night, as well. I'm hesitant to revisit this book as an adult but I know if I see it, I'll read it. It will be interesting to see how it compares to its earlier, little girl consumed version. I read this somewhere between Narnia and The Time Machine and I don't think I could have had any complaints about the book except for the team's oversight of finding me through space and time and taking me ...more
Eldon Miller
Jul 06, 2007 Eldon Miller rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book, read it the first time when i was about 10, and then again about a year ago. Thor Heyerdahl has a way of telling the story that makes it about impossible to put the book down. He writes in a frank and intimate style, at times getting slightly off topic but still very enjoyable. The accounts of the crew and their interactions will have you laughing out loud. A great read i would recommend to anyone who has an adventurous streak
What a great adventure!! What makes the book even more interesting to me is that it was written in 1947 when he challenged some "known" ideas about how the Polynesian Islands were settled anciently. I am going to read more now about Easter Island and ancient treks taken from South America going west.

For my friends who are LDS, you will find the information in the book about the Incas and their travels very interesting indeed. :-D
Such great courage, tenacity, daring, and adventure!!! In our techno savvy, GPS and computer guided world, it's hard to tangibly grasp the accomplishments Heyerdahl and his crew achieved, floating/drifting thousands of miles across the open Pacific for over three months on a raft made of only natural resources. Considerably, phenomenal.

A bit repetitive in places, but certainly a great oceanic adventure and biography.
Steve Kettmann
Apr 13, 2010 Steve Kettmann rated it really liked it
This may even have been one of the first books I really loved - I read it as a kid growing up in San Jose and was so taken by the crazy, quixotic beauty of it all, trying to cross the Pacific in a raft to see if men could have done the same thing centuries earlier. I can't really comment on the writing, it having been decades since I read it, but I just might pick it up again.
May 21, 2016 Lara rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Recommended by my mom a city girl who thought that when we went rafting on the Truckee River that we were on a 'ride' like at Disneyland! She is an adventurer though and I too loved this book.
Aug 25, 2008 Charles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
The theory underlying this book is probably not true, but it's great fun to speculate on and the book is a fine adventure novel on it's own.
Sep 10, 2015 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Ethan S.
10 SEP 2015 - recommended by Ethan. Many thanks.
I had a copy of this book (in a different edition) as a teenager, but it was stolen ('confiscated') by a teacher. I've read several editions several times. This edition has photographs with detailed captions.

One of the cartoons in my private collection shows the crew of the Kon-Tiki facing a raing gale. One of the crew members comments "Well, we've established one thing for a certainty. The Polynesians were all a race of raving lunatics." My response was "YOU'RE not Polynesians. You're 5 Norwegi
Lisa (Harmonybites)
May 01, 2013 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of Nature and Adventure
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Ultimate Reading List - Travel
This is the first person account of Thor Heyerdahl of his 1947 voyage with five companions across the South Pacific; over 4,000 nautical miles in 101 days with five companions on a balsa log raft. There are various genres this book could be said to fall into: anthropology, adventure/exploration and memoir, and I have mixed feelings about its success in each.

The entire purpose of the voyage was "to support a theory that the South Sea Islands were populated from Peru." Heyerdahl did have some com
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See also ثور هايردال.

Thor Heyerdahl (October 6, 1914, Larvik, Norway – April 18, 2002, Colla Micheri, Italy) was a Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer with a scientific background in zoology and geography. Heyerdahl became notable for his Kon-Tiki expedition, in which he sailed 4,300 miles (8,000 km) by raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands. All his legendary expeditions are shown in th
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“Otherwise he was glad we had missed our landing, for he still had three books to read.” 4 likes
“It was a great moment on board when two large boobies were spotted above the horizon to westward” 2 likes
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