Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TLC Book Tour: The Lost Tribe


Readers of Erik Larson will love this tale of sex, greed, and the American dream: A huckster imports a tribe of Filipinos to Coney Island’s Luna Park, and two cultures collide.
The Lost Tribe of Coney Island unearths the forgotten story of the Igorrotes, a group of “headhunting, dog-eating savages” from the Philippines, who were transported to New York in 1905 to appear as “human exhibits” alongside the freaks and curiosities at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Millions of fair-goers delighted in their tribal dances and rituals, near-nudity, tattoos, and stories of headhunting.
Journalist Claire Prentice, who has spent years researching the topic, brings the story to life with her fluid prose and vivid descriptions. The book boasts a colorful cast of characters, including the disgraced lieutenant turned huckster Truman K. Hunt; his Filipino interpreter, Julio Balinag; the theme park impresarios behind Luna Park, Fred Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy; and Dogmena, a beautiful girl who became a favorite with New York’s social elite. The Lost Tribe of Coney Island  is a fascinating social history and a tale of adventure, culture-clash, and the American dream.
My Review:
The Lost Tribe of Coney Island was an interesting read. Sometimes non-fiction books feel like a synopsis of dates and events with little color in between but this was not the case with Prentice's book.  I learned a lot while reading this book but there was also enough of a story to keep me interested and engaged in the book.  It's about a tribe of natives from the Philippines that is brought to America. They are told that they will be there for a year and the opportunity is painted as an opportunity to achieve prosperity for their family.  Unfortunately, they were misled, exploited and abused by Truman Hunt, the American they had placed their trust in.  
It's hard to imagine a time in our country when "human exhibits" were in vogue.  It was sad to read about their exploitation.  They were cheated by Truman Hunt every step of the way and I can only hope that Truman Hunt eventually had some sort of karmic payback down the road.  
I recommend this book for other non-fiction readers.
Do you read much non-fiction?  What was the last great non-fiction book you read?


Marlys said...

Hard to understand what humans can do to other people! Disgraceful!
I had not heard of this until now.

katielookingforward said...

Did this have a little more energy than Erik Larson's books? He tends to be a little dry for me.

Nora said...

I've been reading some parenting books lately to help us out for next summer, so focusing on ages 5-8. Not very exciting reads but I've picked up some interesting things that I hope to use next year. Not sure this counts as non-fiction since it's really more self help and parenting... =)

Stephany said...

The only non-fiction I tend to read are personal development books, the last one being Freakonomics, which was a super interesting read!

Amber said...

I do really enjoy non-fiction but like you said it has to have enough colour between the lines to keep it interesting. I love reading periodical novels and learning about different times in our history that I would otherwise know nothing about!

Anonymous said...

It's crazy the way people exploit each other - both back then, and today.

Sounds like a fascinating read! Thanks for being a part of the tour.