In Search of Tiki Hardcover – 29 Sep 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
Everything you ever wanted to know about the 50's American obsession with South Seas paraphernalia and exotica. Don't buy it if you're after an actual anthropological study of Polynesian culture; this is kitsch pop culture at it's best/worst (delete as applicable). Discover lost treasures such as the Tiki Hibachi canape warmer (including asbestos table pad). Unearth the sophisticated forgotten delights of Tiki bowling lanes. And revive the long lost art of Tiki cocktail mixing whilst gazing at a topless Polynesian princess.
Packed with photos and illustrations; this book has it all. Thanks to this mighty book I was inspired to carve my very own Easter Island head. From a breeze block. Genuine class.
One for fans of low-brow art and culture or, if you think you're a bit above all that, a postmodern assault on taste.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"Possibly the most difficult aspect of reviewing this comprehensive study of Polynesian pop is that it stands alone, unassailable. It's difficult to apply any critical distance to a work like this, and it's not that nothing else approaches its thoroughness or insight: the fact is that there is simply nothing else of the sort available. Whatsoever. Anywhere. Kirsten has literally "written the book" on a phase of pop culture that once encompassed architecture,interior design, clothing, music, food, entertainment and much more, yet passed from a ubiquitous vogue to decay and disregard without ever having enjoyed critical respect or even any substantial recognition.
A must-have book!
In addition to the rich imagery (which affords the viewer an almost physical experience of the phenomenon) Kirsten's writing traces back the origins of the style to the Western fascination with Polynesia and, without becoming too analytical and dry, enlightens the reader on the motives for this escapism.
The chronicler's ironic enthusiasm for his subject saves him from becoming judgmental and falling for easy, politically correct conclusions.
We are guided through the history of Polynesia as an eternal metaphor for an earthly Eden up to the point where Americans fell in love with this vision.
Here Kirsten conveys how the post-war need for more moral freedom coincided with the tales of Pacific war theater veterans and the 50s idealization of Hawaii as a dream vacation destination.
In taking the guise of an urban archeologist who (as is done in classic archeology) discovers a lost culture through it's objects and artifacts, Kirsten accomplishes to throw light on a fascinating chapter of American pop that has so far lingered in obscurity.
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