White Savages in the South Seas

Front Cover
Verso, 1995 - Travel - 203 pages
1 Review
This is a book about Polynesia after the cruise ship has left, the jet has flown off into the sunset, and the mai tai curtain has dropped on a dream that was more performance than reality. This first-hand narrative introduces the reader to the Cook Islands and an extraordinary array of their inhabitants: Susy No Pants who lives an uproarious life of pleasure, but never strays far from who she is or where she came from; a nuclear nomad from the Tuamotus who attempts suicide by ancient means in California's Balboa Fun Zone, home of the chocolate-dipped banana; and French bureaucrats who concoct an elaborate charade to create an uplifting image of the Foreign Legion in Papeete, Tahiti. The author encounters missionaries, randy kings, dictators, sailors, drunk island tyrants and visionaries on remote isles where tourists seldom tread. Kernahan does not find paradise, although she admits to having looked for it.

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Behind the Mai Tai Curtain
French Foreign Legion in Eden
What Do Naked Women Want?
Life of an Ariki
Damn You Robert Dean Frisbie
The Young Unmarried
Boardinghouse Island Style
Defection to Mitiaro
HMNZS Waikato Day
And on the Seventh Day
EPILOGUE Death of Three Heroes

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About the author (1995)

Mel Kernahan has written for Cosmopolitan, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Sacramento Bee as well as various Pacific Island publications. She was the first woman ever selected by the Cook Islands government to serve as Overseas Public Information Officer, and has worked as a cultural consultant on Polynesia to the City of Los Angeles and UCLA.

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