Review: Hoffman’s Savage Harvest

Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
Carl Hoffman

A strange and fascinating book that uses the mystery of Michael Rockefeller’s disappearance in New Guinea to trace the author (and our societies) fraught relationship with indigenous peoples. Was Rockerfeller killed? Was he eaten? Did he kind of have it coming? In the first fifty pages, I was nervous this was going to be great white man explains humble brown people, but as the book progresses, it becomes much more than that. That isn’t to say the book isn’t at heart the story of white men’s attempt to explain brown people. It is, but it’s a nuanced, complication take on the idea. At first I was bored / turned off, but I needed the book fascinated.
You’ll never think about cannibals the same way again.


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