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Faery Lands of the South Seas by James Norman Hall and Charles Bernard Nordhoff

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

James Norman Hall and Charles Bernard Nordhoff were two Americans who volunteered for the French Flying Corps and the French Escadrille in 1916.  Although they did not meet until after World War I, they were asked to collaborate for Harper's Magazine on articles about the islands of the South Pacific. Hall and Nordhoff traveled together to the Tahiti, split up and made plans to rendezvous at a later date. 

The articles were serialized in the magazine in 1920 and 1921 and then published in this travelogue of the exploits of the two writers journeying by freighters from island to island, sometimes getting stranded a month at a time on some remote atoll. It is an engaging glimpse into the cultures and islands in a different time. Nordhoff and Hall have different writing styles, but Hall's insightful and detailed observations of the cultures and Nordhoff's beautiful descriptions of the flora and fauna make for pleasurable reading. 

They must have enjoyed their adventures; Nordhoff stayed in the Pacific for about twenty years and Hall for the rest of his life. They later teamed up to write the The Bounty Trilogy(Mutiny on the Bounty, Men Against the Sea, and Pitcairn's Island) in the 1930s.

The book is available on Amazon here, but also free for download on project gutenberg:

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