Author talk: Carl Hoffman will discuss cannibals, headhunting and the Rockefellers

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From the March 27, 2014 edition

Carl Hoffman (author of “The Lunatic Express”) will discuss his latest book, “Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art,” a gripping story about the mysterious death of Rockefeller in the Asmat region of New Guinea.

In 1961, Rockefeller traveled to Asmat — home to a people known for headhunting and cannibalism — to collect primitive art for his father, then-New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and his new museum.

The story presented was that Rockefeller drowned after his ship capsized. But Hoffman, as much of an adventurer as an author who’s traveled to 65 countries, went to the region to find the truth because there were rumors Rockefeller was killed and eaten by the local people.

Hoffman unearthed original documents and spoke with witnesses from the day of Rockefeller’s death for the book. He will read a selection from “Savage Harvest,” followed by a reception.