Native Strangers

Native Strangers : Beachcombers, Renegades and Castaways in the South Seas

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The Pacific beachcombers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were the real-life Robinson Crusoes. They were ordinary sailors from American and Europe who found themselves shipwrecked and cast away in the South Seas. Dramatically severed from all that was familiar, they were forced to create new lives on island shores. They 'went native' in order to survive, embarking on unparalleled journeys into the heart of strange cultures. They became tattooed, spoke native languages, married native women and participated in religious and cultural rites and rituals - possibly even cannibalism. Native Strangers draws on the scores of narratives, yarns, personal reminiscences and tall tales of the beachcombers, challenging the romantic notions inherent in early European views of the Pacific. These stories are testimony to the beachcombers' courage and adaptability. Their level of cross-cultural integration has rarely been equalled by any group of travellers and explorers, before or since.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 147.32 x 226.06 x 22.86mm | 430.91g
  • Penguin Group (NZ)
  • Penguin Books (NZ)
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • English
  • line drawings
  • 0143020153
  • 9780143020158
  • 2,091,041

Table of contents

List of Illustrations; Acknowledgements; Preface; Map; Chapter 1: The White Heathen of the South Seas; Chapter 2: Accidental Authors; Chapter 3: The Myth of the Castaway; Chapter 4: Going to Sea: Surviving the Journey; Chapter 5: Stranded in a Strange Land; Chapter 6: Strategies for Survival: The Mechanics of Going Native; Chapter 7: Drama and Role Play in the Life of the Beachcomber; Chapter 8: On the Margins and in Despair; Chapter 9: Too Close to Cannibalism; Chapter 10: Voices from the Beach; Chapter 11: The Return Home; Notes; Bibliography; Index
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