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Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft (Enriched Classics)

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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 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 legendary voyage. On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft. After three months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, whales, and sharks, they sighted land -- the Polynesian island of Puka Puka. Translated into sixty-five languages, Kon-Tiki is a classic, inspiring tale of daring and courage -- a magnificent saga of men against the sea. Washington Square Press' Enriched Classics present the great works of world literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. This edition of Kon-Tiki has been prepared by an editorial committee headed by Harry Shefter, professor of English at New York University. It includes a foreword by the author, a selection of critical excerpts, notes, an index, and a unique visual essay of the voyage.


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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 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 legendary voyage. On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft. After three months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, whales, and sharks, they sighted land -- the Polynesian island of Puka Puka. Translated into sixty-five languages, Kon-Tiki is a classic, inspiring tale of daring and courage -- a magnificent saga of men against the sea. Washington Square Press' Enriched Classics present the great works of world literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. This edition of Kon-Tiki has been prepared by an editorial committee headed by Harry Shefter, professor of English at New York University. It includes a foreword by the author, a selection of critical excerpts, notes, an index, and a unique visual essay of the voyage.

30 review for Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft (Enriched Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    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 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. One of them was revisiting the Kon-Tiki Museum there which I hadn't seen since the last time in Oslo at age ten. In the parking lot who should be standing there but Thor Heyerdahl himself? Although he was talking to another man, Mother interrupted them as if she knew him to introduce me to the great man as her son. Polite nothings were exchanged. He was very, very tall. Did she know him? It's a small country. Mom did know the former prime minister, Gro Harlam Brundtland, and once, walking down Karljohan, Oslo' main drag, with her boyfriend, she recognized, but couldn't exactly place, the portly gentleman walking his dogs in front of them--someone from Chicago, she thought. Anyway, she broke away from Egil, the boyfriend, and darted up to the old fellow, saying she recognized him, but, sadly, couldn't remember his name. "Perhaps, Madam, it is because I am your king," Kong Olav replied.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    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 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 sciences with secondary interest in archaeology and anthropology. Of course, early on I studied primarily marine sciences and biology. The book is well written with lots of photographs. The voyage of the Kon-Tiki took place in 1947. The part I liked best was the descriptions of the sea life that came around the raft. This time I was more intrigued with how the raft functioned and how the ancient people of Peru came about to design it in a certain way and why they chose the certain woods they used. Many times, after reading a book that I had enjoyed, I no longer like it and wonder what I saw in it. But that is not the case with this book. I was as fascinated with my current reading as I was back in the 1950s. I did note that they saw no garbage and no plastics floating in the water. Today that is a big problem when sailing the oceans. If you are looking for a different adventure, give this book a try. I read this as a hardcover book that is 308 pages. Published in 1950 by Rand McNally & Company.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mukikamu

    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 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 octopus fly into your face daily. You just have to put your toothbrush in the water and a fish bites on it vehemently. Myths accompany the Scandinavian crew all the way, it’s an uplifting tale of a pursuit of dreams. Mandatory for armchair explorers. I am prepared to fight everyone who says it’s a children’s book. http://mukikamu.wordpress.com

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessaka

    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. 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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chrisl

    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.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Col... quoting Wiki - "The antiquity of the use of sea-going rafts by the people of 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.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Col... quoting Wiki - "The antiquity of the use of sea-going rafts by the people of the Ecuadorian and Peruvian coasts has not been established as ancient balsa wood rafts have left few archaeological traces, but it appears that a maritime trading system from southern Colombia to northern Chile was established by about 100 BCE." "The sudden adoption of metallurgy in the civilizations of Mexico about 800 CE has led archaeologists to conclude that the technology was introduced, most likely by sea-going rafts, from the Ecuadorian coast of South America where metallurgy had been practiced for hundreds of years. Later advances in metallurgy in Mexico after 1200 CE resembled the metallurgy of the Chincha in Peru." *** Tried Heyerdahl's "Early Man and the Ocean." Quite disappointed by his beliefs. Four stars seems generous now for Kon-Tiki. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor_He... https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Mccullough

    This was one of my boyhood books that inspired me to be adventurous, to think the unthinkable, to push beyond the usual.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    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 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 would later go on to write a large tome about his ideas (probably not available at you local library) and build and test several other primitive watercraft to prove that people could have gone from here to there in vessels you would probably trust less than a rubber raft.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Terence M

    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 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 special place in my memory, but what a great story and a very suitable novel it was!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Yigal Zur

    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

  10. 4 out of 5

    JD

    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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anima

    ‘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 ‘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 astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about.... ... So, perhaps, the whole thing began. So began, in any case, a whole series of events which finally landed the six of us and a green parrot on board a raft off the coast of South America. I remember how I shocked my father and amazed my mother and my friends when I came back to Norway and handed over my glass jars of beetles and fish from Fatu Hiva to the University Zoological Museum. I wanted to give up animal studies and tackle primitive peoples. The unsolved mysteries of the South Seas had fascinated me. There must be a rational solution of them, and I had made my objective the identification of the legendary hero Tiki.’

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    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 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 - in fact, fuller and richer in many ways than the life of modern man. Time and evolution somehow ceased to exist; all that was real and that mattered were the same today as they had always been and would always be. We were swallowed up in the absolute common measure of history - endless unbroken darkness under a swarm of stars."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Annalisa

    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 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 would succeed because his predecessors had. Call it faith or stupidity, everything fell into place from finding the perfect group of 5 men to join his travel to cutting through government red tape and getting funding and supplies. Even the one seemingly setback where they could not find anyone to supply the balsa logs so they entered the jungle and cut them down themselves ended up being for their benefit when the fresh logs, still containing sap, keep the raft floating longer than dry logs would have. There adventures on the open water including catching shark, hitting storms, and observing strange ocean life were very interesting and their knowledge, skills, and most of all spirit of adventure amazed me. But it's not all page-turning excitement. There were parts of the book that dragged, parts that found me asleep in the middle of a chapter. I'm glad I read the account, but overall, I think it is a book that would intrigue my husband more and I have recommended that he read it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    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!! 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!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Petra X living life blissfully,not through books!

    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.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Heman

    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 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 book has an air of a cheap Boy's Adventure magazine story circa 1940s. Strangely enough, I did not see any review that points out to the crucial fact that Heyerdahl's theory has not been accepted and new genetic data strongly suggest that it is substantially wrong. There might at best been a weak link between the Eastern Polynesia (Hawaii mostly) and the Northern American tribes, but nothing about Peru. Based on genetic data, it is now believed that Polynesians originally hailed from Taiwan.

  17. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    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. 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. I finished this book in just 2 days.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    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. 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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Val

    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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    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 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 dismissed as a preposterous conclusion: that the Polynesians had been peopled by immigrants sailing in from across the Pacific Ocean—all the way from Peru. When nobody believed him (because such an arduous journey seemed utterly impossible), Heyerdahl decided to conduct the experiment that might prove him right: he would, following in the legendary Tiki’s path, cross the Pacific from Peru to Polynesia in a balsa raft. The Kon-Tiki raft (named for Tiki’s Peruvian title) set off, with Heyerdahl and five other men—four other Norwegians and one Swede—from Peru only after the end of World War II. Just a little over 90 days later, it arrived in the Polynesian islands, just the way Tiki (or Kon-Tiki) might have done, centuries earlier. Heyerdahl chronicled this amazing adventure in Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft, a fascinating account for which the timeline stretches from Heyerdahl’s background research into the origins of the Polynesians, up to the Kon-Tiki crew’s final arrival in Taihiti. While these—the background, and the triumphant return (not to mention the heartwarming friendships formed with the Polynesians by the end of the expedition)—are interesting, the unforgettable part of the account is the adventure itself. The felling of balsa trees in Ecuador, the making of the raft—and the voyage. The storms at sea, the sea life encountered (from a scary whale shark to shoals of accompanying flying fish, pilot fish, dorado, shark and squid, as well as creatures the voyagers were unable to identify). The nearness of whales, gentle giants of the deep. The jubilation at finding themselves in radio contact with hams across the world, men who ended up sharing the adventure in a vicarious way. This is a gripping, exhilarating account of a remarkable voyage. It's very human, too, in the somewhat self-deprecating style in which Heyerdahl at times describes the accidents and misfortunes which befell him and his colleagues in what was to all of them an unfamiliar enterprise. He is able to transmit much of the wonder (especially regarding the sea and marine life) of someone who has embarked on a crazy venture such as this, and who is encountering things perhaps no one has ever seen before. There is none of that talking down to one’s readers: it's almost as if Heyerdahl invites you to share the adventure too. Barring a couple of things which I didn't care for (what seemed like pretty wanton and unnecessary killing of sharks for one, and the somewhat patronizing tone adopted while describing the Polynesians, for another), this was an enjoyable book. Heyerdahl’s theory may have fallen through as a result of subsequent research, but the account of the expedition itself is pretty much an account of history being made, too.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The true story of a man's unwavering belief in his theory of the peopling of the South Pacific and the courage to risk his own life to prove it. Thor Heyerdahl's theory was criticized at the time and has since been proven wrong with the help of DNA testing, but his logic makes sense and one can't argue with his spirit. All I can say is this guy had balls. Even with today's technology such as GPS, few people would venture across the Pacific Ocean on a home-made raft just to prove that it can be d The true story of a man's unwavering belief in his theory of the peopling of the South Pacific and the courage to risk his own life to prove it. Thor Heyerdahl's theory was criticized at the time and has since been proven wrong with the help of DNA testing, but his logic makes sense and one can't argue with his spirit. All I can say is this guy had balls. Even with today's technology such as GPS, few people would venture across the Pacific Ocean on a home-made raft just to prove that it can be done. Thor and his mates tried it in 1946! Thor's accounts of adventure on the high seas are vivid and the naming ceremony with the islanders at the end nearly had me cheering out loud. My copy includes the added bonus of pictures from the voyage. Let me know if you'd like to borrow--I'm happy to share this fantastic book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    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 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 that post-World War II optimism the men who had survived brought home. Discomfort is a footnote and curiosity holds center stage (or should I say, center raft). It's no wonder this book has held the interest of several generations already and no doubt more to come.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bill Burris

    I read this a long time ago.

  24. 4 out of 5

    W

    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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lita

    [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 [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 difficulties. In the beginning, the story basically read along the lines 'if something can go wrong, it will'. As the six men set out to cross the ocean on a single raft, the author spoils the reader not only with the recount of everyday life on the sea but also insights into the history and culture of different nations and places. It's well written with a healthy dose of humor and suspense to make you want to read on. All my fears of not being able to finish the book because I'll find it too boring were totally unfounded and dismissed. Finally, I could not help but compare my own experience at sea this summer with some of the situations our main heroes were having on board of Kon-Tiki. It was in no way comparable, but it did bring back nice memories.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    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 lake...it's a big one, natural, but t 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 lake...it's a big one, natural, but the ocean is not a big part of my life. It is endlessly fascinating, however. So, I sat down and enjoyed reading a book about building a boat and sailing it. Details I could not have imagined were poured into this tale and it is exciting. Good narration. I'm having a really hard time reviewing the book's good points because I wanted to enjoy the inspiration for the expedition. I wanted to learn more about Polynesian folklore and culture. I wasn't able to set aside how angry Heyerdahl makes me. His whole theory is wrong. It was proven wrong decades ago. No one notices. It is pretty insulting too. So, the Polynesian culture consisted of accidental tourists because they could never figure out how to travel like that because...no white guy did it at that time or before them. I imagine it hurts in some way to give expert navigators and sailors credit for spreading their culture across over 1,000 islands. They didn't know the islands would be there. They were experts at using the night sky--from it they had means to a clock, compass, and the calculation of latitude. If they were in the South Pacific (they were, they're there right now), it was intentional exploration. They had purpose. And they constructed amazing art. Well, that brings me to the Moai. (And yes, the silly "walking" theory is not from Kon-Tiki, but the Peruvian theory makes this possible at all. And it *is* his theory (it is in a different, later book) and I have not spent good time scoffing at "brown people dumb, must be aliens" type stuff for nothing.) See, people too ignorant to do more than hope the currents bring them to land were not able to move those gigantic statues. How would they move them? How does anyone move anything at all? Magnets. How do they work? My main problem with all of this is exactly when are we going to stop with all of it? (Someone is going to complain that I'm bringing it up, but I have to. It is insulting to an entire culture.) Hard evidence refutes him. His behavior is part of a larger problem. Just because we cannot figure out how an ancient culture may have accomplished a task does not mean that they simply didn't do it because some precious, smarter (whiter?) saviors did or it was aliens. There are things we will not figure out and no one should be allowed to overshadow better explanations with this ignorance. Face the consequences of this type of thinking. See, we might know how ancient cultures accomplished a great many things, but some of us were too busy burning their stuff and forcing them to convert to Christianity. Some of us decided they couldn't possibly know anything we would want to know. Staring at his book growing up, I never read it. Didn't want to. It sat next to The Prophet (skipped it because I'm not a hippie) and The Chariots of the Gods--that tome for ancient astronaut enthusiasts. And, based on all the Moai statue stuff I looked up, Thor Heyerdahl belonged right next to it. I've read the book now. It doesn't belong right there, but it is adjacent. Heyerdahl may be a hero, but his influence was allowed in the wrong areas of study and his theories are ultimately very damaging.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    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. https://www.nature.com/articles/s4158... 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 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. https://www.nature.com/articles/s4158... Here we analyse genome-wide variation in individuals from islands across Polynesia for signs of Native American admixture, analysing 807 individuals from 17 island populations and 15 Pacific coast Native American groups. We find conclusive evidence for prehistoric contact of Polynesian individuals with Native American individuals (around ad 1200) contemporaneous with the settlement of remote Oceania. Amazing. The thought that ancient groups of people were setting off in boats around the planet is fascinating to me. (I think it also inspired an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.) Having recently read Harari's work, I can't help but wonder what shared fictions might have guided and sustained these early travelers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cass

    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 provisions...it's startling and a fantastic adventure. I also found my 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 provisions...it's startling and a fantastic adventure. I also found myself exclaiming "Seriously?!" out loud over and over again, as the crew kept getting into situations that I can't imagine any of my modern seafaring friends daring to attempt. All in all, a very enjoyable read and one I would reccomend to anyone going somewhere sunny with a sandy beach, or in need of some south pacific visuals.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    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 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 adventures across the endless miles of water, to learn more about this world and feel the pulse of life even in the depths of the ocean. Or, if nothing else, to see the stars untainted by the light of our cities. Sixty years and how much has changed in our world. It is a window to a different time, both a proximal and distal history of the world. Read this book. You shall have no regrets.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natalia

    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. 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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