"Among the Cannibals" began when Paul Raffaele, Australian travel writer, made his first trip up an obscure New Guinea river in search of one of the last practicing cannibal cultures on Earth. What he found were a people who conflate disease with sorcery, and who exact vengeance for their loved ones' deaths by hunting, and eating, the "sorcerers" they hold responsible. Such practices are thankfully quite rare today, but it exists, whether in the memory of the leader of a Pacific cargo cult - a group that parades each February in the hopes that John Frum, a legendary American sailor, will return bearing boxes of spam and other more conventional foodstuffs - or in the religious practices of the Aghori sect of India, whose idea of saintliness is certain to mystify and fascinate readers.It also existed elsewhere in the past, and Raffaele journeys to these peoples' homelands, mixing travel, history, and anthropology in an engaging and illuminating look at why different cultures have ever sanctioned man eating. The book will be well illustrated with photographs Raffaele has taken during his journeys, and told in his inimitable, self-deprecating style.A mix of Indiana Jones and John Belushi, Raffaele's telling of his journeys with cannibals is sure to be a pleasure for anyone interested in the out-of-the-way and forgotten.
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