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    An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2014: “I think I can make
    it.” In 1961, while on an expedition to collect pieces for his
    father’s Museum of Primitive Art, Michael Rockefeller and his
    traveling companion were plunged into the warm waters off New
    Guinea. The billionaire scion tied two empty gas cans to his body
    for floatation and swam for shore, and by most accounts, he made
    it. But what happened there, when he encountered members of the
    Asmat tribe--a culture marked by ritual violence and
    cannibalism--has been long debated. Did he disappear into the
    tropical jungles, or was he rendered and eaten by the tribesmen,
    as many speculated and the Rockefeller family long denied?
    Award-winning journalist Carl Hoffman has stepped into
    Rockefeller’s boot prints and Asmat society, interviewing
    generations of warriors in an exhaustive and engrossing attempt
    to solve the mystery. The result, Savage Harvest, succeeds not
    only as a captivating and sensational puzzle, but also as a
    (seemingly unlikely) modern adventure and a fascinating glimpse
    of an anachronistic people pulled into the 20th century by the
    tensions of global politics. So, did he make it? The title might
    offer a clue. --Jon Foro

    Simon Winchester
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    Simon Winchester Reviews Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals,
    Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive
    Art
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    Carl Hoffman, who with his 2010 book The Lunatic Express
    demonstrated himself to be a traveler of the greatest courage and
    determination, as well as a writer of skill, has now made a
    significant contribution to history. Savage Harvest, a narrative
    that is as exciting as it is instructive, appears finally to have
    winnowed the truth from the mare’s nest of legend and wishful
    thinking surrounding the disappearance in November 1961, of
    Michael Rockefeller, in a remote region of southwestern New
    Guinea.The 23-year old, along with a Dutch anthropologist
    colleague and two young guides, were sailing in a dugout
    catamaran some three miles from the coast of Asmat. The craft
    overturned; the two locals swam for help, but as the wreck
    drifted farther from land an impatient Rockefeller decided to try
    and make it alone. With two fuel cans to help his buoyancy on
    what he reckoned would be a twenty-hour swim, he slid into the
    warm shallows of the Arafura Sea - never to be seen by friends or
    family again.Did he drown? Was he eaten by a shark? Did he vanish
    into the jungle, Kurtz-like? Or was he the victim of cannibalism
    at the hands of coastal villagers? Hoffman has shown that with
    assiduous tradecraft, hard work and near-obsessive tenacity, it
    is possible to know, to solve the supposedly insoluble. He has
    journeyed, twice now, deep into the dark interiors of Asmat, and
    has conducted interviews and learned the language and listened to
    sensible men and women – in New Guinea, in the Netherlands, in
    the anthropology departments of knowledgeable universities. And
    he has used a severe intelligence to determine just what happened
    on that warm dawn Monday, November 20, 1961.The Rockefellers –
    not least Michael’s twin sister Mary, who produced her own book
    two years ago – may not want to believe this tale; and the family
    did nothing to help Hoffman in his admirable quest. But the
    truth, as this book chronicles in patient, meticulous detail, has
    a way of eking itself out. Savage Harvest is a remarkable
    testament to the revealed truth, and of its revealing - even if
    that truth is wholly bizarre and, to most, quite literally
    unpalatable.

    Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author most recently of The
    Men Who United the States as well as Atlantic, The Professor and
    the Madman, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the
    World, and Krakatoa, all of which were New York Times
    bestsellers. In 2006 Mr. Winchester was made an officer of the
    Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen. He
    resides in western Massachusetts.

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