This was an account of the author's archeological expedition to Easter Island, and mentions of trips to a couple other nearby islands.
Unfortunately, unlike Kon-Tiki (the author's other book), this is basically a flat telling of what occurred. It would have been better if he'd actually stuck to chronological order. In a couple places he doubled back in time ("while the last week and a half of lots of things described was going on there was also this REALLY BIG thing I haven't mentioned at all....") so the reader has to try to fit the pieces into order. I didn't see any reason the night visits and such couldn't have been interwoven with the rest of the story, or that the coming of the ship (and delays and such) couldn't have been put in their place alongside the statue. I think it would have read not only clearer, but would have lent a bit more interest to the reading of the tale.
I have to agree with the author's Aku-Aku who accuses him of sticking to nothing but facts and not thinking. The book seems to be heavy on the facts and antidotes of random islanders, but it doesn't leave me feeling as if I've really learned that much. Kon-Tiki was a fascinating account of life on a raft with historical information as well. I would think they learned more from the archeological dig, but rarely gave any historical context or helped the reader feel as amazed as they were as it was dug up. I was never pulled into the story.
The visit to one of the other islands (I'm not clear why they were tacked onto the end of the book, but I did like the one), where the women worked because the men had been told all paid workers went on strike, so they went on strike, was fun. I do wonder why he HAD to call them vahines instead of women. I am sure it's an island term, but I'm sure there are other island terms he translated. :P
It wasn't a bad book, but Kon-Tiki was much much better. I do feel like I know more about Easter Island, and the statues they dug up I've never heard of, so that was interesting. Lots more is known about that island than I remember learning.
Pocket Cardinal edition. American edition published by Rand McNally, 12th printing Feb 1968. 32 pages of full color photos.
Aku-Aku is the fascinating account of a scientific expedition to solve mysteries of Easter Island. That lonely speck in the Southeast Pacific is dotted with colossal statues of long-eared men-weird relics of a people who have vanished from the earth.