Help me dive even deeper into the mysteries of the jungle. I have a book contract with William Morrow to explore one of the most fascinating unsolved missing persons cases of the 20th century -- the disappearance of a young member of the Rockefeller family in New Guinea in 1961.
The Wall Street Journal called my last book, The Lunatic Express, one of the ten best books of 2010. And this one, my third, is going to be bigger, better, and I'm almost there.
I've spent more than two years researching the story, including two months in Indonesian Papua and I've made some amazing discoveries. But the story
is even richer than I first imagined. It's not just about a collision of cultures experienced by one of America's wealthiest sons, but one that took place in the spirit world. There
are layers here -- mystical, brutal, enlightening -- that need to be
explored. And I can only do that by going back. And diving
deeper into the world of the sacred.
But my book contract does not cover the costs for a second long plunge into one of the remotest places on Earth.
That's where you come in.
On November 18, 1961 Michael Rockefeller was crossing the mouth of the Betsj River off the southwest coast of New Guinea when his boat capsized. He strapped two empty fuel tanks to his waist, swam for shore and was never seen again. Despite a massive search by airplanes, helicopters and boats, the son of then-New York governor Nelson Rockefeller and a member of one of the richest and most powerful families in America had vanished without a trace.
Officially he drowned at sea. But there have long been rumors: that he was kidnapped and held hostage. That he decided to abandon the modern world and live in the jungle. Or that he made it to shore, only to be killed and eaten by the local Asmat.
THE LAST WARRIORS OF THE SPIRIT WORLD: Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Journey in the Land of the Asmat is the first substantive, deeply researched and reported account of what happened to Michael Rockefeller. Relying entirely on never before seen documents, interviews with people directly involved with the case who've never before spoken, and on the ground reporting deep within the Asmat region, it is the definitive true tale. It is a rich story about much more than just a vanished American son. It's about a moment in time when the world was undergoing profound changes, about the end of colonialism, the rise of primitive art and the sacred world of the Asmat - a dramatic and riveting tale about change and collision.
It's a story that's fascinated me for decades and I've spent the last two years combing archives and traveling to the Netherlands, the Canary Islands, the deepest jungles of Indonesian Papua.
The truth: his disappearance was no mystery at all - his fate was known by the Dutch government and the Catholic Church within three weeks, and it was kept secret.
I'm on course to complete a draft manuscript for my book in the next several months.
But I need your help to finish, to cross the Ts and dot the Is. I've had a researcher in Europe going at it for almost a year. I have hundreds of pages of documents that have to be translated. And I need to go back. Both to Europe and to New Guinea. To go deeper. To re-ask questions in light of information I didn't have during my first journey and to get more details, because what happened to Michael can only be understood within the context of a complex culture and its sacred world of spirits and ancestors. And that requires time and presence in Asmat itself. But the costs are overwhelming me. To be in Asmat I need a guide, a translator, a boat, fuel - gas alone costs $10 a gallon there.
So, please come with me, virtually if not physically. To the jungles and rivers of Asmat, still one of the remotest places on Earth, to a world of 100-foot longhouses, an older universe barely touched by the outside, where men are cockatoos and fruit bats and wild boars and still travel with the tides in hand carved dugout canoes.
MY PREVIOUS WORK
Read what The Wall Street Journal had to say about Lunatic Express, my last book, here.
A note on how to use kickstarter to make a pledge:
To make a pledge to THE LAST WARRIORS OF THE SPIRIT WORLD click the green “Back This Project” button. You will be asked to enter your pledge amount and select a reward. Then, you will go through and must complete the Amazon checkout process. If the project is successfully funded, your card will be charged when the book reaches its funding deadline. THE LAST WARRIORS OF THE SPIRIT WORLD- the title may change - is expected to be published around August 2013.
Important note: Amazon payments will bill your card only after and if the project has reached it's goal.
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