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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin Winter 2015

Book Review Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada and cost $19.95. But remember, that Canadian $19.95 in American dollars today is only $13.00. This reviewer recently received his American Express bill and was made somewhat happy by the conversion rate of Canadian dollars to American dollars (approximately $1.00 = .70). Anthropologically speaking, this reviewer is reasonably certain that the Aboriginals of Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea were all related at one time (Biblically, we all go back to Adam and Eve), but the geographical similarities are there. Likewise, the Canadian First Nation peoples and the Inuits are basically the same, with an Asiatic genetic influence. This reviewer recommends travel to New Zealand, Australia and western Canada, if for no other reason than to appreciate the majestic beauty of all these Editor Robert R. Kracke were basically unknown to the outside world. They consisted of tribes of warring factions, each with the other (shades of Middle Eastern warfare today) and the men were naked but for a penis gourd and the women naked but for a thin bikinilike bottom around their lower waist. To say that their customs were strange is an understatement. For instance, as young girls reached puberty, joints of the fingers of their hands were chopped off for a reason not easily explained in the book (supposedly to appease their dead ancestors). They enjoyed constant warfare with other tribes and kept sweet potato gardens and pigs to thrive on. They lived, for them, a very civilized existence, though chaotic, and had done so for centuries before they were discovered by these survivors. The rescue of the survivors is told brilliantly by the author of this book. The tale of their survival and rescue is so engrossing that at times a reader could almost believe that he or she is reading a movie script. This rescue mission forms a greater part of the book and all of the characters are fleshed out as if one were reading a fictional novel of adventure. Of course, the star of this story is Margaret Hastings. She was then an attractive, petite, gritty survivalist who, though burned severely on her legs and suffering gangrene, through grit and determination, stayed up with the two men until they were discovered by a search plane. The rescue mission in such a jungle habitat was prevented by helicopter because of the height of the mountains surrounding the valley but the landscape was fashioned so that an airplane glider could land for the rescue. The rescue creates unstoppable reading in the form of drama. This book is highly recommended to you for those who love adventure, World War II stories, and heroic military action. It is complete with numerous photos of the survivors, the rescuers and the Aboriginals in all of their naked glory. The author has even included a cast of characters at the end of the book so that one might learn how the three survivors’ lives were led after World War II. Before this book was written, this account was carried in newspapers all over the world and the survivors, particularly Margaret Hastings, became somewhat celebrities, and Margaret made 200 speeches at war bond rallies in 1945 and 1946. It is available in paperback: this reviewer’s copy was purchased at the Mountain Lights Book Store at Chateau countries. Unfortunately our ship only passed by New Guinea on its way to New Zealand. Happy travels and reading. G Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Winter 2015 19


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin Winter 2015
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