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Comment: Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Date of Publication: 1992
Binding: hardcover
Edition: 1st Edition
Condition: Good
Description: 240mm has many colour and black and white photographs good condition jacket has light shelf wear
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Easter Island, Earth Island Hardcover – 21 Apr 1992

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd; 01 edition (21 April 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500050651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500050651
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 17.8 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,146,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book sets out some recent thinking about the history of human occupation of Easter Island. I recommend it to anyone interested in archaeology, sociology, biology, botany or history, but as much of the conclusions drawn cannot be directly substantiated by physical evidence, you should retain some skepticism.

Having re-read the book I was disappointed to find that once the excitement of following recent ideas had paled a little, the book feels rather thin. It covers, or reviews, the main aspects of interest, but not in any great depth. However, a reading list is provided. The single "new" aspect of the work is the expert pollen analysis carried out by Flenley, which provides reasonable confirmation that palm trees (and other trees) were once indigenous (providing raw materials for moving and erecting the famous statues, and thus removing one of the Famous Mysteries), and presumably once they were wiped out by the human settlers, this would have played some significant part in the degradation of ther environment and society.

My other caveat for which I removed another star is that the book is too quick to refer to Thor Heyerdahl's earlier hypotheses about colonisation (coming from the east, S America, rather than the west, Polynesia) as absurd, prejudiced, &c. Bahn and Flenley's research stands atop that carried out by the astonishing Heyerdahl expedition in 1955-6 (you MUST read "Aku-Aku"), and if these two can see farther than Heyerdahl, it is because in those ineffable words, "they are standing on the shoulders of giants". A lot more respect and circumspection in discussing Heyerdahl's conclusions would have been preferable.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr Paul Bahn's interest in Easter Island was stimulated by the Kon Tiki documentaries, and then reinforced by later programmes on the BBC - programmes which many of us saw, and which left me and many others with with the same fascination. Bahn did more than ponder; he carried out research on the island and teamed up with Dr John Flenley, and expert on pollen analysis and tropical rainforests. This is the 'dream team' for a book on Easter Island. Flenley's research proves that the island, now famously bare, was once covered with forest in which Wine Palms, with their stout trunks and nutricious nuts, dominated.

This book traces, using the best available historical and scientific sources, the way in which the original inhabitants of Easter Island, in the centuries following their arrival around 400AD, developed a rich culture and large population - and the way in which both culture and population crashed and burned as a result of poor management of restricted resources. It doesn't sound like a gripping read but I read it from cover to cover like a novel. Despite reading it so quickly I understood very clearly the at-times shocking sequence of cause and effect which led a wealthy, peaceful people, to end up impoverished, at war, and possibly practising cannibalism. This is a testimony to the skill of the writers, who do an excellent job of getting even the most esoteric academic details across with admirable clarity. There are charts, maps, diagrams, and graphs as well as cracking photos and I did not (unlike the other reviewer) really feel the lack of colour.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This excellent book deals with the history of the island before it was "discovered" in 1722, the origins of the people from Polynesia,the decline of its society from the ravages of the palm rat and deforestation,the building and moving of the hundreds ofstatues and the findings of modern day archieologists.Most importantly it debunks the nonsencical theories put forward by Thor Heyerdal.The pictures are adequate but more colour is required,the maps and diagrams are good.Abook tobe recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Be very careful! - If you have 'the Enigmas of Easter Island' do not buy this. It is the same text but with less photos. nice ploy by the publisher - let's change the title - then the suckers will but two copies!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent survey to one of the world's most isolated populated locales 6 Mar. 2009
By David Zelz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Bahn and Flenley present an excellent survey of Easter Island. Photographs and drawings nicely complement text dedicated to the history, mythology, ethnography and the ever present speculation that has always enveloped this mysterious and intriguing place. Anyone planning a visit to Easter Island, or Rapa Nui as the indigenous population refer to it, would be well served to read this prior to departure. The authors aren't content to simply present the island as it is. They successfully incorporate science and physics into a highly readable volume that brings to life, and in many cases, to resolution, questions that have mystified since Thor Heyerdahl first brought Easter Island into public consciousness decades ago.

Finally, concluding that Easter Islanders were pretty much singularly responsible for the environmental and ecological destruction of their own world centuries ago, the authors present, without heavy handed editorializing, a valuable lesson to consider as we face present day threats to our global climate.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewer: A reader 30 Nov. 2004
By Spencer XZanatos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: A reader

I have to disagree with the previous reviewer about the debunking of Heyerdahl being "excessive". The debunking is limited to only one or two chapters. For readers like me who have read Heyerdahl, this debunking was important because of the attractive neatness of Heyerdahl's theories as he had presented them.

The book is very well organized, with a good selection of photographs and diagrams.

The book's title and the previous review may give the impression that the book is primarily about environmental lessons we can learn from what happened to Easter Island, but in fact it is the best introduction to Easter Island studies that I have seen.

Only the final chapter is about lessons for humanity. The authors' arguments here are elevated by their citing of the well-known Club of Rome study on the Limits to Growth. All of its predictions for the 1990s did actually come true. A fact that is very clear to anyone who has read the actual report. The people of Easter Island flourished and lived well up to the very end when the crash finally hit from their overusing the island's resources. A sad tale, and now a sad history for an interesting vacation spot.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A complete treatise on Easter Island 27 Aug. 2003
By Claus Hetting - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This fine book is the most complete treatise on Easter Island available. It covers all the island's most fascinating aspects, including its geological history, the question of the origin of the Rapa Nui people, flora and fauna, and of course, most importantly, the archeological remains. The writers illustrate how a complex interplay between the natural environment and human behaviour created the island's unusual prehistory, including the demise of the statue cult. Although there are still many unanswered questions about the moai (giant statues) this book gives the qualified answers or at least suggestions as to how these things came to be. It wisely leaves behind all sorts of pseudo-scientific theories and bases its discussion on real archeological evidence, of which there today exists a substantial amount. The only unfortunate thing about the book is the slightly misleading title.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you read only one book on Easter Island, make it this one 6 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have to disagree with the previous reviewer about the debunking of Heyerdahl being "excessive". The debunking is limited to only one or two chapters. For readers like me who have read Heyerdahl, this debunking was important because of the attractive neatness of Heyerdahl's theories as he had presented them.
The book is very well organized, with a good selection of photographs and diagrams.
The book's title and the previous review may give the impression that the book is primarily about environmental lessons we can learn from what happened to Easter Island, but in fact it is the best introduction to Easter Island studies that I have seen.
Only the final chapter is about lessons for humanity. The authors' arguments here are diminished by their citing of the well-known Club of Rome study on the Limits to Growth. None of its predictions for the 1990s came true, and this should have been clear by 1992, the year of this book's publication. The authors make no mention of that inconvenient fact.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK on Easter Island 30 July 2002
By A Thoughtful Consumer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You would think from the title that this is book is actually a flaming, guilt-ridden treatise on environmentalism. But such is not the case. It is in reality a well balanced handling of all aspects of Easter Island. Yes, Thor Heyerdahl and his theories are covered but so is going on vacation there and where to stay. If there is something you would like to know about Easter Island, this book probably covers it in a most readable fashion.
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