From the Land of Tattooed Warriors
by Jeffrey L. Gross
PageTurner Press and Media

"The Polynesians were the only deep-water sailors for 2000 years. They were the greatest open ocean seafarers in the history of the ancient world."

Takitoa, a high-ranking toa warrior and Nahini, first-born daughter of “royal blood,” were undeniably attracted to each other and in love, but because of her royal status, any romantic relationship between the two was prohibited. Gross’s book includes a fictionalized account of the forbidden love between Takitoa and Nahini. However, because it is set precisely in the culture, history, mythology, and anthropological study of the Marquesan people, the book is just as easily a piece of fascinating and insightful nonfiction.

For example, w e learn about the rich culture and elaborate life system of these Polynesian peoples. Readers are introduced to the elaborate tribal dances, tales of battle with neighboring tribes, traditional dress, and use of tools. As indicated by the title, the Polynesian people were known for their distinct and elaborate practice of body tattooing, in which most of the entire surface of the body, for adult males, was covered in rich, symbolic, tribal-based tattoos. For females, certain areas of the body were usually decorated in these distinct tabooed styles. This book focuses primarily on the Marquesan people’s voyage, in order to save and perpetuate the tribe after losing a ferocious battle, to the land we nowadays call Hawaii.

Gross includes at the end of each chapter an assortment of gorgeous photographs illustrating the land formations of the Marquesan and Hawaiian Islands, as well as historical renderings which showcase such anthropological features as costume and dress, tools and weapons used in battle, geographical maps, sketches of island life, and significant structures. These illustrative attributes complement nicely an already complex and highly fascinating study of the culture, which is among some of the reasons this work is highly recommended. Those interested in history and ethnography—especially of ancient Polynesia—will find Gross’s book delightful and very informative.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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