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Book Report Thursday: Aku-Aku



I am a fan of adventure stories, so in some ways, Thor Heyerdahl’s books seem to have been written with me in mind. Aku-Aku is the story of his archeological work on Easter Island, which sounds dry enough. But there is intrigue with the local population and with the Chilean government. Some of the sites explored require passage through small dark tunnels or dangerous rock-climbing and then small dark tunnels. Lots of chickens have to be roasted to propitiate the local spirits.

The book is extremely readable and there are lots of cool photos. The attitude of the author and his group toward the indigenous people seesaws between genuine love and respect and colonial paternalism. Essentially, the archeologists exploited local beliefs to get access to artifacts. I object to exploitation, of course.

It gets to stay on the shelf and I might give it as a gift to the right person; I think T. would like it.

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