"Aphrodite's Islandis a bold new account of the European discovery of Tahiti, the Pacific island of mythic status that has figured so powerfully in European imaginings about sexuality, the exotic, and the nobility or bestiality of 'savages'. In this ground-breaking book, Anne Salmond takes readers to the centre of the shared history to furnish rich insights into Tahitian perceptions of the visitors while illuminating the full extent of European fascination with Tahiti. As she discerns the impact and meaning of the European effect on the islands, she demonstrates how, during the early contact period, the mythologies of Europe and Tahiti intersected and became entwined. Drawing on Tahitian oral histories, European manuscripts and artworks, collections of Tahitian artefacts, and illustrated with contemporary sketches, paintings, and engravings from the voyages, Aphrodite's Islandprovides a vivid account of the Europeans' Tahitian adventures. At the same time, the book's compelling insights into Tahitian life significantly change the way we view the history of this small island during a period when it became a crossroads for Europe."
Anne Salmond is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. One of New Zealand's most prominent anthropologists and historians, Professor Salmond is the author of Hui- A Study of Maori Ceremonial Gatherings; Amiria- The Life Story of a Maori Woman); and Eruera- The Teachings of a Maori Elder (winner of a Wattie Book Award in 1981) which she co-wrote with Erua Stirling. Among her other acclaimed works are Two Worlds- First Meetings between Maori and Europeans, 1642-1772; Between Worlds- Early Exchanges between Maori and Europeans, 1773-1815 (winner of the Ernest Scott Prize in 1998); The Trial of the Cannibal Dog- Captain Cook in the South Seas (winner of the Montana Medal for Non-fiction in 2004); Aphrodite's Island- The European Discovery of Tahiti; and Bligh- William Bligh in the South Seas (a finalist in the 2012 NZ Post Book Awards). She received the CBE for services to literature and the Maori people in 1988 and was made Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to New Zealand history in 1995. In 2009, she was elected as a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) for her excellence in scientific research. She lives in Devonport, Auckland.