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Faery Lands of the South Seas

James Norman Hall

Book Overview: 

Returning from the horrors of World War I James Hall and Charles Nordhoff follow a dream to tour the South Pacific. They later co authored “Mutiny on the Bounty”. This is a love story. A travelogue and an adventure rolled into one. This book just went into the public domain, so enjoy an early 20th Century look at paradise.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Johnson. Ordinarily he would have been laid up in Papeete until after the equinox, but the company had sent for him to make a special trip to Penrhyn. We had a wretched passage north—a succession of squalls and broiling calms. The schooner was in bad shape, anyway: rotten sails, rigging falling to pieces, and six inches of grass on her bottom. On a hot day she had a bouquet all her own—the sun distilled from her a blend of cockroaches and mildewed copra that didn't smell like a rose garden. On the thirtieth day the skipper told me we were two hundred miles from Penrhyn and so close to Mataora that we might sight the palm tops. I'd heard a lot about the place (it has an English name on the chart)—how isolated it was, what a pleasant crowd the natives were, and how it was the best place in the Pacific to see old-fashioned island life.

"We had been working to windward against a light, northerly breeze, but the wind began to dr. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This book was written by Hall and Nordoff both of whom knew the South Seas as a native would know them. I've been in Hall's home in Tahiti where he spent the last 30 years of his life, and have been at his writingdesk. His daughter stills lives on Tahiti in a home near Hall's grave just up the hill

Very Interesting hub

This is like a history lesson on Polynesia. Lots of fascinating details about these lands and seas and their people. This narrative evokes a fair bit of admiration for these folks as well as for the beauty of this region. Good job.

An interesting style and cadence to this combination of autobiographical and tales and legends from the low islands of the South Pacific. It has some observations/opinions that I found offensive, but given the historical context, his words are true to the EuroAmerican attitudes at that time. I prefe