HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Thor Heyerdahl: Across the Seas of Time
Author: Paul Westman
Publisher: Dillon Press, 1982
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 9-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Westman,Paul. Thor Heyerdahl: Across the Seas of Time (Published in 1982 by Dillon Press Inc., 500 S. 3rd St., Minneapolis, MN 55415). When I was growing up, I had a fascination with the “South Seas,” and one of my favorite books was Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl (October 6, 1914–April 18, 2002), a Norwegian adventurer and ethnographer with a background in zoology, botany and geography. Heyerdahl is most notable for his Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947, in which he sailed 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in a hand-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands. The expedition was designed to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between societies.
Heyerdahl made other voyages and visits to demonstrate the possibility of contact between widely separated ancient peoples, notably an expedition to Easter Island In 1955–1956, resulting in the international best-seller Aku-Aku; the 1969 and 1970 Ra and Ra II boats made from papyrus to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco on the west coast of Africa, chronicled in The Ra Expeditions; and the reed boat Tigris in 1977 which was intended to demonstrate that trade and migration could have linked Mesopotamia with the Indus Valley Civilization in what is now Pakistan and western India, as told in The Tigris Expedition.
In the years that followed, Heyerdahl was often outspoken on issues of international peace and the environment. He died on April 18, 2002, in Colla Micheri, Liguria, Italy, while visiting close family members. When I saw this biography of the Norwegian explorer, whose many voyages were undertaken to prove his theories about the migration patterns of ancient people, on the free shelf at our local library, I immediately picked it up. It is part of the “Taking Part Books” series of children’s biographies about famous twentieth century personalities published by Dillon Press. This one gives a good overview of Thor Heyerdahl’s life and activities up to about 1981.