Kon-Tiki
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Kon-Tiki

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  10,087 ratings  ·  542 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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Erik Graff
Feb 22, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Mukikamu
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
Blair
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...more
Michael
Jan 07, 2008 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 27, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, adventure, history
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
Rob
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.
Annalisa
Feb 12, 2008 Annalisa rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Meg
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!!
Whitfield
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...more
Cassie
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 provisions...it's startling and a fantastic adventure. I also found my...more
Jo
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 rope...no nails or chains) from Peru to the Sou...more
Martha
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
Kathleen
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
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
Chelsea
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
Karen Terrell
Great old-fashioned true-life adventure!

So many men of my dad's generation - men who lived through the Great Depression and served in WW2 - seem(ed) to share in an irresistible desire to explore the world, and an optimistic confidence that they could return from their explorations in one piece. My Dad climbed in the Himalayas,surfed in the Pacific, traveled to six continents - and as I was reading about the adventures of Heyerdahl and his friends, crossing the Pacific on their little balsa-wood...more
Steve Kettmann
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.
Valerie
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...more
Mazel
6 hommes. 9 troncs de balsa.

8 000 kilomètres à travers le Pacifique, 97 jours de mer entre Lima et l'atoll polynésien de Raroïa.

Voici résumée en chiffres une aventure désormais mythique, montée par une bande de marins d'eau douce, aussi jeunes qu'écervelés. Mais têtus.

Sans argent, sans moyens, riche de son seul enthousiasme, Heyerdahl voulait prouver au monde que les ancêtres des Incas étaient allés peupler la Polynésie sur leurs frêles radeaux en bois.

Le récit de cette fabuleuse épopée sonn...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
May 01, 2013 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Linnae
Heyerdahl had a remarkable theory about the origin of the Polynesian people: that they originated from South America, near Peru, and had come across the ocean in balsa-wood rafts to their new island homes. As evidence of his theory, he pointed to similar stone structures--temples and enormous stone statues--on both sides of the Pacific. There were also many other similarities between the cultures, including the name of their first king--a white-skinned man with red hair, believed to be the son o...more
Sundeep Supertramp
230 pages full of adventure...

The starting few pages deal with the theory that Polynesians may have originated in South America. Many of the scientists claim that the expedition was impossible provided the absence of seafaring technology during those days, unlike now. So Thor Heyerdahl, the author, with a small crew take up the journey themselves.

It is just like the caption says, 'Across pacific on a raft'.

They - the six members - build a raft and cross, almost, 4300 nautical miles all the way f...more
Deborah Blair
Kon-Tiki was one of the inspirations of my childhood and teens. I found this book in the Westport Connecticut adult library at the age of ten and was so fascinated and inspired I read it once a year until early adulthood.

Archeology, mythology and fairy tales were big subjects of interest for me in my childhood limited by genetic illness and chronic bronchitis that kept me often confined to bed and horrific physical and emotional abuse by a top pharmaceutical industry father and Debutante mother...more
Bob Redmond
In 1947, Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian anthropologist, decided to prove his theory that ancient people from what is now Peru sailed on rafts 4,000 miles across the South Pacific to what is now Polynesia. All trained sailors and scientists told him it was not possible, depsite compelling circumstantial evidence: archeological, linguistic, and geological, not to mention existing trade winds and ocean currents. They said it was a suicide mission and only took bets on how many days the company would l...more
Vicky
Only a year or so after the end of WWII five Norwegians, a Swede and a Spanish-speaking parrot of irritable disposition set out on one of the most audacious expeditions of modern times. Testing his theory that Polynesia was colonised from South America, Thor Heyerdahl and his team construct a raft of balsa logs using a drawing made by the Conquistadors as their blueprint, travelling into the forests of the foothills of the Andes to collect their materials.

I first read this book as a 10-year-old,...more
Lorenzo Berardi
What are Six Norwegian Men doing on a raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

This question may sound as the beginning of a funny joke or as a riddle, but in fact is the story behind the Kon-Tiki travel. Thor Heyerdahl was certainly a dreamer, but not a stupid. He surrounded himself of practical and tough men for his "suicidal expedition" with the aim of proving his own theory about colonization of a bunch of the most isolated islands of this world.

The book turned out to be less scientific and d...more
Brian
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...more
Sally
I'm sure that most everyone has read or at least heard of Kon-Tiki, but just in case, it is a true story of five men who sail a Polynesian raft across the Pacific in order to see if it is conceivable that Pacific islands may have been settled by people from South America. Their voyage took place in 1947. I loved his energetic, pleasant narrative style. I don't expect that I would have been nearly so enthusiastic about being on an open raft for so long, amid all kinds of sea creatures including s...more
Vicki
Interesting book about 6 men who took a raft "Kon-Tiki" across the Pacific Ocen from South America Peru to the Polynesian islands. The raft was called "Kon-Tiki" meaning sun god. The trip was taken in 1947 and took 101 days.
The Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl believed that people from South America could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times The aim of Heyerdahl in mounting the Kon-Tiki expedition was to show, that the journey across the Pacific could be made by using only t...more
Nicki
Loved this book. It's the story of a Norwegian scholar with a theory that the Polynesian islands were settled by people who originated in South America and traveled hundreds of miles across open sea on bamboo rafts. To prove that it was at least possible, Heyerdahl decides to build a raft and make the journey himself, with five compatriots. Theory aside, the story of their journey is fascinating reading. They become familiar with all manner of sea creatures and have close encounters with whales,...more
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18206
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...more
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