Artnoose Noose's Reviews > Kon-Tiki

Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
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May 27, 2012

really liked it
Read in June, 2012

First off, this book is the result of my going to the main library without a list--- I always get sailing books. This one though had me stumped because I couldn't find it, and the listing said Third Floor. I stumbled around like stricken with scurvy, confused because the Third Floor seems to be offices and microfiche. A helpful librarian told me a very thorough and extensive explanation about how when the Carnegie libraries switched from Dewey to LOC, rather than recatalog the older books, the main library simply stuck them all on the enigmatic Third Floor, sort of hoping that eventually all those older books would dissolve into obsolescence. She retrieved the book for me, which I was excited to find was the illustrated version.

It's the story of a half-dozen Scandinavians in the 50s who tried to prove that pre-colonial Peruvians could have been the predecessors of the Polynesians by sailing across the Pacific on balsa rafts. They build a raft like the ancient Peruvians did and tried it. Remarkably they make it--- it's not a spoiler because obviously they lived to write a book about it.

It smacks a little of white-guy-on-exotic-adventure, but ultimately it's an amazing story. With all the sea life they harpoon and pull aboard though, I wonder what the journey would be like in modern, overfished days.

If you can pick up the version illustrated by Eric Palmquist, I recommend it.

Great opening line: Once in a while you find yourself in an odd situation. You can get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but, when you are right in the midst of it, you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about."
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