A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
On Sale: March 18, 2014
Featuring: Michael Rockefeller
Hardcover / e-Book
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The mysterious disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in New
Guinea in 1961 has kept the world and his powerful,
influential family guessing for years. Now, Carl Hoffman
uncovers startling new evidence that finally tells the full,
Despite exhaustive searches, no
trace of Rockefeller was ever found. Soon after his
disappearance, rumors surfaced that he'd been killed and
ceremonially eaten by the local Asmat—a native tribe of
warriors whose complex culture was built around sacred,
reciprocal violence, head hunting, and ritual cannibalism.
The Dutch government and the Rockefeller family denied the
story, and Michael's death was officially ruled a drowning.
Yet doubts lingered. Sensational rumors and stories
circulated, fueling speculation and intrigue for decades.
The real story has long waited to be told—until
Retracing Rockefeller's steps, award-winning
journalist Carl Hoffman traveled to the jungles of New
Guinea, immersing himself in a world of headhunters and
cannibals, secret spirits and customs, and getting to know
generations of Asmat. Through exhaustive archival research,
he uncovered never-before-seen original documents and
located witnesses willing to speak publically after
In Savage Harvest he finally
solves this decades-old mystery and illuminates a culture
transformed by years of colonial rule, whose people continue
to be shaped by ancient customs and lore. Combining history,
art, colonialism, adventure, and ethnography, Savage
Harvest is a mesmerizing whodunit, and a fascinating
portrait of the clash between two civilizations that
resulted in the death of one of America's richest and most
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