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Lost Among the Baining: Adventure, Marriage, and Other Fieldwork
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Lost Among the Baining: Adventure, Marriage, and Other Fieldwork

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  30 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In the late sixties, Gail Pool and her husband set off for an adventure in New Guinea. He was a graduate student in anthropology; she was an aspiring writer. They prepared, as academics do, by reading, practicing with language tapes, consulting with the nearest thing to experts, and then, excited and optimistic, off they went. But all their research could not prepare them ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by University of Missouri (first published April 7th 2015)
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Cheryl Suchors
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I found this book haunting, vividly portrayed, and inspiring. Even after finishing the book I keep thinking about the young couple, newly married, who travelled to New Guinea to live with the illusive Baining—how young and bold and unprepared they were—who suffered in myriad ways yet survived to return home changed forever.

Reading this memoir, I learned about a culture far different from my own and was made to consider my values and the meaning I derive from living, as well as my response to th
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Nor are Jeremy's parents especially concerned about my career. As I should have expected, they are focused on their son. I am merely an afterthought. If anything, his mother has praise. She certainly doesn't believe that a wife should follow her husband to the ends of the earth, sacrificing career and a comfortable life: she left her own spouse some time back. But it is a different matter when the husband in question is her son. She thinks it sounds exactly right that I will live in a hut with a ...more
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book through a first reads giveaway.
When I received the email congratulating me on winning it I was really happy- I am passionate about travel and have read a few travel journals, but none about New Guinea and none that I can remember have been about a couple. The blurb made it sound interesting and exciting.

The whole thing leans heavily on the memoir side of things, but it wouldn't be so humorous or witty if it wasn't Gail writing about Gail personally. It guides you t
Bettye Kearse
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy memoirs, and Gail Pool’s Lost Among the Baining: Adventure, Marriage, and Other Fieldwork is one of the best. Though quite funny in some parts, the story is thought-provoking, substantive, and informative throughout. It brings up questions about what field anthropologist do, what they should do, and, perhaps most important, what they should not do. Should these academicians allow—or, in some cases, use—their presence to affect the people they study? Should they try to make communities “b ...more
Charlotte Bell
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Forget about the Baining, I got lost in the book. And I caught a co-worker utterly absorbed in it in between seeing clients.

What a wonderful book. It is so full of ideas. It captures the Baining in a way that is so much more true to them and their particular take on humanity than any anthropological study could be. And the exploration on their impact on the author and her husband is fascinating.

Always when I look back on this summer, reading this book will be a memory of great pleasure. It
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A really terrific book. I found it compulsively readable — at once funny and literate, honest and insightful. Having studied anthropology, I anticipated a chance to glimpse another culture, one rarely studied and poorly understood. I was rewarded with that, but so much more. This is the story of a marriage, of a relationship transformed by living among the Baining people of Papua New Guinea. It’s rare to read a book that feels so authentic. The author doesn’t pull her punches, doesn’t spare hers ...more
Elizabeth Marcus
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A truly wonderful book: smart, funny, heart-warming, and full of real insight. It is a great adventure story --a young couple go off to live with a little-known tribe in New Guinea-- but the deeper adventure is one we've all had in one way or another: of struggling to understanding a powerful, early experience and the way it changed everything that came after. And it's also a love story! I've never read anything even remotely like it, not in style, format, voice, let alone story. I just loved it ...more
Leanna Manuel
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. I was hopeful and eager to learn about a culture that I had never known existed. My experience reading this book was quite the parallel to the description of the author's time with the Baining. I was just existing. There were moments of high interest, but most of the time I was just bored. That said, I am still glad that I read it.
Holly Ratcliff
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a satisfying story!

Pool is absolutely candid, guiding readers through the journey of her life, marriage, and the Baining. Introspection and reflection at its finest.
P Walker
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it
I appreciated the author's honesty about the emotional toll of fieldwork. It was a sad read, though, as the young couple tried to struggle through the challenges.
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