First Contact

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9780140074659: First Contact

In the early 1930s, Australian Michael Leahy discovered in the unexplored New Guinea highlands an intact civilization untainted by modern society. Fifty years later, the authors made a documentary film about Leahy's four years living their culture. Now, they write a story capturing all the drama of the historic encounter.

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From Publishers Weekly:

In the early 1930s, a team of Australians ventured into the unexplored highlands of New Guinea looking for gold. They found more than a million tribespeople who never had experienced contact with the outside world. One of the prospectors, Michael Leahy, recorded the confrontation between 20th century and Stone Age cultures in photographs and film footage. This documentary evidence was forgotten for 50 years, until filmmakers Connolly and Anderson stumbled across it. Fascinated, they tracked down both the surviving prospectors and tribespeople for a series of interviews that produced an extraordinary portrait of the two sides of "first contact." Village elders tell how they reacted when white men and their weapons appeared: "We thought the gun was just for shooting pigs and that it couldn't hurt men." The Leahy brothers saw the contact from a different perspective; they never attempted to learn about native culture or to regard the people other than as objects to be exploited. The opposing viewpoints presented here interact to create a classic story of colonialism and its aftereffects. Photos.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

In 1930 when the Leahy brothers of Australia led a gold-prospecting expedition into the highlands of Papua New Guinea they came into contact with a primitive civilization that had never before met people from the outside world. A cache of films and photographs taken by the brothers was uncovered in 1980 by the authors, who produced a highly acclaimed film titled First Contact in 1983. Further investigation, including interviews with survivors and archival research, resulted in this fascinating, well-written, and well-documented account of the episode and the consequences of the encounter. The numerous photographs capturing the expressions of the natives are truly rewarding. Recommended for interested laypersons as well as scholars and specialists. Sondra Brunhumer, Western Michigan Univ. Libs . , Kalamazoo
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Bob Connolly, Robin Anderson
Published by Penguin Books (1988)
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