Book Review: Headhunters on My Doorstep by J. Maarten Troost

Five Easy Stars

The Very Best of Arm Chair Adventure

What better place to escape a dark wet windy Portland, Oregon Fall afternoon than diving into the pages of Troost’s latest work. Head Hunters will take readers on a journey that will have them dreaming of myths of the south seas, originally documented by Robert Louis Stevenson, now recycled and examined by one of the best adventure writers of our time.

I’ll admit, I’m a big Troost fan. After reading “Sex Lives of Cannibals,” and “Getting Stoned With Savages,” I was hooked on anything Troost wrote about the Pacific Islands. In the first passages, with a true and blatantly honest account involving personal reflection, Troost shares his experiences of recovering from alcoholism. At the same time he relates his struggle to that of Robert Louis Stevenson’s and the bouts of illness that drove the 19th century author to sail and visit the various remote islands of the Pacific.

Throughout this easy flowing non-fictional account of Troost retracing Robert Louis Stevenson’s footsteps taken over one hundred years ago, readers will gain a historical perspective of the region. Troost, in his sometimes cynical and laconic reporting style doesn’t hold back. He’s a master observer and reports his observations within well researched context. His chosen title captures several themes that will come clear to readers, resonating through to the final pages.

Troost fans who enjoyed his earlier works won’t be disappointed. He revisits several of the islands where he lived and worked while writing his other books. He points out some of the environmental impacts that global warming is having on the indigenous inhabitants of the remote atolls of Kiribati. The story culminates in Samoa – the resting place of none other than Robert Louis Stevenson.


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