Under the Mountain Wall

Under the Mountain Wall A remarkable firsthand view of a lost culture in all its simplicity and violence by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen to author of the National Book Award winning The Snow Leopard and the

  • Title: Under the Mountain Wall
  • Author: Peter Matthiessen Edward Hoagland
  • ISBN: 9780140252705
  • Page: 171
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 tribe that survived into the twentieth century Peter Matthiessen visited the KureluA 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 tribe that survived into the twentieth century Peter Matthiessen visited the Kurelu with the Harvard Peabody Expedition in 1961 and wrote Under the Mountain Wall as an account not of the expedition, but of the great warrior Weaklekek, the swineherd Tukum, U mue and his family, and the boy Weake, killed in a surprise raid Matthiessen observes these people in their timeless rhythm of work and play and war, of gardening and wood gathering, feasts and funerals, pig stealing and ambushes Drawing on his great skills as a naturalist and novelist, Matthiessen offers an exceptional account of an ancient culture on the brink of incalculable change.

    One thought on “Under the Mountain Wall”

    1. Published in 1962, Matthiessen’s sixth book and third work of non-fiction, Under the Mountain Wall provided its readers an inside look at one of the last existing stone age cultures, the Kurelu people of the remote mountain valleys of New Guinea—fear stops me from investigating how many seasons of Survivor may have been set there since but at that time the larger world had barely noticed, let alone intruded on the Kurelu. Matthiessen’s bold venture is to present what he witnessed and studi [...]

    2. Written after spending two seasons in 1961 with the Kuerlu people in the Baliem Valley in Papua which is now part of Indonesia. In 1961 JFK became President of the USA, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, America's involvement in the Vietnam War started and Barbie got a boyfriend called Ken.Meanwhile the Stone Age people of Papua carry on their ancient practices. War or the risk of death from a raiding party is a daily occurrence but is not fought for land as there is enough for everyone [...]

    3. an interesting read that was tinged, for me, with unease as I knew that these people are probably dead now and their way of life irrevocably altered by now. The war descriptions were , for me, too detailed but considering what an important activity war is to the Kurelu, it's understandable that Matthiessen gave so much space to them. It seemed that warring informed their social, political & to a degree economic systems. Not too much info on the women though.

    4. A book like this will never be written again. The writing is capable and honest, but this is not fine literature. What is unique is the characters, real characters that lived in a radically different culture from the modern day. There simply are no longer tribal societies this large left to find on earth and since shortly after this was written the Baliem valley changed radically. Take a Google Earth satellite view and find the sprawl of Wamena and the network of roads ceaselessly branching off. [...]

    5. An intimate look at the daily lives of the traditional peoples of highland Papua New Guinea. Peter Matthiessen paints brilliantly both a portrait of the Kurelu and the land in which they live, so much so you feel as though you're there. If his mission was to connect two people so vastly distant in all ways imaginable, he's accomplished that triumphantly. After reading this poetic book you'll never think about "primitive" people the same way again. The differences between our societies are vast, [...]

    6. On April 5, 2014, I received this news alert in my inbox: Peter Matthiessen, Author and Naturalist, Dies at 86. "Hmmm," I thought, "Never heard of him. Wonder if we have anything by him." I turned from the computer and faced the travel bookshelves. There, at eye-level, between Time off to Dig, Archaeology and Adventure in Remote Afghanistan by Sylvia Matheson and A Reed Shaken by the Wind: A journey through the unexplored marshlands of Iraq by Gavin Maxwell, was Peter Matthiessen's Under the Mou [...]

    7. Fantastic account on one of the countries in which I grew up with similar tribal people -- told in an engrossing way as always with Matthiessen. I recommend it highly.Teeth - The Epic Novel with Bite

    8. An educational and interesting look into one of the last true aboriginal hunter/gatherer tribes in the world. It's dated but still an interesting read. Just to do what Matthiessen has had the opportunity to do in his lifetime!

    9. Great, beautiful book giving more detail about tribal life than I've ever seen before. It covers what they actually do all day, how they feel about each other, what people talk about etc. in detail. The writing about nature is beautiful, too.

    10. Very detailed, and the cultural side was very interesting, but for me maybe 50 pages too many. Got a bit repetitive with battles and pig eating. The names of people, places and tribes was a bit of a battle, but that is inevitable in a book like this. 3.5 for me.

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