Under the Mountain Wall

By Peter Matthiessen,

Book cover of Under the Mountain Wall: A Chronicle of Two Seasons in Stone Age New Guinea

Book description

A remarkable firsthand view of a lost culture in all its simplicity and violence by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen (1927 to 2014), author of the National Book Award–winning The Snow Leopard and the novel In Paradise.
In the Baliem Valley in central New Guinea live the Kurelu, a Stone Age…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Under the Mountain Wall as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Matthiessen is best known for The Snow Leopard, but I think this book, written fifteen years earlier, exceeds it. As part of an anthropological expedition to the highlands of New Guinea, he was among the first westerners to describe the lives of the indigenous Papuan farmers who lived there—and he dares to imagine them from the inside, with his trademark understated lyricism. It's an extraordinary book, full of beauty and drama, and though it isn’t a journey to the distant past, it often feels like it: this was a place where neighboring villages fought ritualized wars against one…

From Jonathan's list on taking you to another world.

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