’In 1947, Thor Heyerdahl and five companions attempt to cross the Pacific ocean on a balsa-wood raft in a bid to prove Heyerdahl’s theory that the Polynesians undertook the same feat on similar craft over a thousand years ago from South America’.
Occasionally, a book about an amazing yet mind bogglingly crazy feat of human willpower and brains comes along, and you feel you must stop and read about it. Written in the forties, this book still holds it's own. After all, sailing the Pacific in a raft is always going to be a timeless pursuit.
First of all, this is very inspiring stuff. It has all the parts of an adventure story (with photos) and really captures the imagination. The reader is constantly aware that they may be following a route used over a thousand years ago, and that the time gap and physical gap the team are hoping to bridge makes their attempt even more powerful.
What makes this adventure more fascinating is the sheer willpower that it must take to go into the Pacific without GPS or satellite phone. They had just a radio, and the knowledge that if the raft fell apart or anyone got badly injured they were on their own. The feelings of mortality and risk make themselves felt more forcefully than the "safety first" exploits of todays adventurers.
The writing style is simple but exquisitely vivid, and never overplayed as the crew go about their daily tasks and musings on science, history, life and humanity's place in the universe. There is plenty of drama and although they are travelling over the Pacific ocean the book by no means loses the wind from it's sails at any time, and never descends into dull repetition of day after day tasks on the ocean where the view never changes, but keeps the reader constantly turning the pages.