Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Beyond The Coral Sea by Michael Moran

Beyond the Coral Sea: Travels in the old empires of the South-West Pacific- Michael Moran 2003

After reading Head Hunting in the Solomon’s and her other book I got on a Papua kick. This book was sitting on the shelf at work on day and caught my eye. How could I pass up a cover like that.

Plus, since the other 3 books I had read about the region took place between the 1920’s- 1960’s I was interested in a more recent perspective.

I enjoyed the history of lesson of the region, who knew Germany owned so many islands and probably the most memorable part of the book for me was his brief mention of Errol Flynn.

I had honestly never given Errol Flynn much thought in my life, maybe I had seen a movie by him but probably not. But after reading about how Tasmanian born Flynn came to Rabaul in 1926 at the age of 17 to teach the locals about personal hygiene. While he was there he wound up running a plantation, buying a local 14yr old girl, and wresting crocodiles. All this made me want to read next Flynn’s autobiography “My wicked, wicked ways.” Which turned out to be the most entertaining, unbelievable thing I have read all year.

But back to Moran’s book. Of course he covers cannibals, missionaries and colorful explorers to the region. The book is humorous and educational. Also includes a good amount of black & white and color photos.

Even if you are just vaguely interested in the region, I highly recommend this entertaining and approachable book. Since it is in paperback, it would be an ideal book for a plane trip since it is a quick read.

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