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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  20,221 ratings  ·  1,174 reviews
Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure -- a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 1990 by Rand McNally (first published 1948)
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Ami His theory is considered wrong. The common opinion (nowadays proved by genetic evidence) is that Polynesian origin is from Austronesian peoples, and c…moreHis theory is considered wrong. The common opinion (nowadays proved by genetic evidence) is that Polynesian origin is from Austronesian peoples, and came from Taiwan, Indonesia and Philippines. The migration occurred gradually, at 2000BC-1000AC . The Austronesian peoples were later replaced at their origin lands by the current Chinese people.


There have probably been later travels from either South America to Polynesia, or raids from Polynesia to South America and back. But the main migration was from south Asia.
Jules Not only the potato word, but he also recognized that some god's names and symbols were the same in Peru and Polynesia…moreNot only the potato word, but he also recognized that some god's names and symbols were the same in Peru and Polynesia(less)
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Erik Graff
May 11, 2008 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
We had a power outage with a winter storm the other day so I looked around my bookshelves and came across a book I was fascinated with many years ago and decided to read it again. The book is Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. The hardcover book I have was published in 1950. It was given to me by my mother for my birthday in 1950. I read this book at least twice a year in the fifties and sixties, but somehow it got put aside. This book is one of the key items that helped me decide on a career in the sc ...more
Dec 09, 2008 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
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
WOW!!! This book was recommended to me back in the 1950s by my favorite teacher, Mr. Bailey, who ttaught 8th grade in Paso Robles, CA. I remember going to the Paso Robles library and handling the book back then, but never reading it until now. It took me this long to become interested in seafaring stories. My first one was "The Wreck of the Mary Deare, which made me realize that books about the sea can be very entertaining. This book tops all. ...more
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1940s, travel, anthro
Read this one a long long time ago. Heyerdahl was hero then. I wanted to go to the islands, too.
Subsequently revised my perception of Thor credibility, but remained interested in ancient sea travel.
Fascinated by earliest watercraft. Believe they were much more useful to earliest humans than taught in schools, as Sapiens explored and settled the world. Here's link about 'rafts.'
quoting Wiki - "The antiquity of the use of sea-going rafts by the people of
John Mccullough
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my boyhood books that inspired me to be adventurous, to think the unthinkable, to push beyond the usual.
Mar 20, 2008 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 wo
Terence M
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
From memory: 4Stars - I really liked it

As an early teenager, I attended a small boarding school (actually a junior seminary😇) where we suffered enforced silence during meals for most days of the week. During these meals, students, on rotation, would read aloud from a 'sacred' book, most often the "Lives of the Saints"🙄, or the like, or a 'suitable' novel. I remember very clearly that I was fascinated by and very much enjoyed "Kon-Tiki". I won't listen to it or read it again, because it has a spe
Yigal Zur
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
still one of the great epics of sea faring told by the really last viking. every time in Oslo i pay respect and go and sea the akon Tiki
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a highly entertaining account of a man willing to risk everything to prove his theory correct. The book is colorful and full of humorous accounts of the authors adventures through South America and across the Pacific. The book is full of great detail, but in the end it drags on a bit and I struggled to finish it.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
‘SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE IN FATE, OTHERS DON’T. I DO, and I don’t. It may seem at times as if invisible fingers move us about like puppets on strings. But for sure, we are not born to be dragged along. We can grab the strings ourselves and adjust our course at every crossroad, or take off at any little trail into the unknown.’
‘ONCE IN A WHILE YOU FIND YOURSELF IN AN odd situation. You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but, when you are right in the midst of it, you are suddenly asto
Jul 11, 2010 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
Feb 12, 2008 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 16, 2007 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!!
Petra X back to reality & the diet!
I read this in school and hated it. My tastes in reading are quite different now and I think I might reread this. Now I think it looks interesting.
Aug 15, 2013 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
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: adventure, 501, 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
Apr 14, 2009 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. ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it liked it
In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl and a few friends built a balsa wood raft on the pattern of ancient Peruvian fishing rafts, then they set off to row and sail it across the Pacific. This was to show that some of the Pacific islands might have been populated by native Americans sailing west, rather than the accepted view that they were populated by south-east Asians sailing east.
It is a weak on the anthropology, but an excellent sea adventure.
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
Jan 07, 2008 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.
Jun 01, 2013 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
Bill Burris
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this a long time ago.
This is quite an adventure,crossing the Pacific on a wooden raft in 1947,to prove a theory.It is foolhardy,thrilling and fairly interesting.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
[A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction]

Considering that travel or journey narratives are not my cup of tea, I found myself surprisingly engaged with Thor Heyerdahl's recount of his adventures on the sea. At times, it was even difficult to believe that it is not fiction, it really happened. From the conception of the idea to cross the Pacific in a raft till reaching one of the islands in Polynesia, it's an amazing story of man's persistence and endurance in the face of dif
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
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
In Kon-Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl argues that indigenous people traveled by boat from South America to Polynesia. He builds a boat and sets off across the ocean as proof of concept. On this morning in 2020, I see an article in Nature that scientists have found genetic evidence for Heyerdahl's theory.
Here we analyse genome-wide variation in individuals from islands across Polynesia for signs of Native American admixture, analysing 807 individuals from 17 island p
Apr 20, 2008 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
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'd find it hard to believe that anyone could read this account without it igniting the desire to set sail across the pacific and let the worries of modern life be carried away by the current. This is such a remarkable story, made all the more fantastic due to the reality of the expedition it represents. I've read a fair few books about sailing and life at sea, but none have made me desire that life for myself so much as this. Mayhaps some day I'll take up sailing after all, to seek new adventur ...more
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish they had 10 stars - the book deserves it.
Both the book and the story it's based on are absolutely exceptional! It's a hymn in praise of these intrepid, brave and bold young men who took a risk and managed to make the voyage that changed our perception of history of civilization. I admire their courage, determination, solidarity and strength. For me it's the best self-help book, a must read for those who want to become a leader.
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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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