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Mutant Message Down Under, Tenth Anniversary Edition Paperback – May 25, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (May 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060723513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060723514
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (516 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Morgan's much-hyped first novel, a fictionalized account of a "walkabout" she took in the Outback with a group of Aborigines, gains from the use of authentic detail, although the storytelling is hindered by the author's heavy New Age agenda and incessant cultural proselytizing. A 50-ish alternative health practitioner from the American Midwest, Morgan was working with underprivileged Aborigine youths in the inner cities of Australia when a group of Aborigines offered her a chance to learn firsthand about their culture. Morgan's account of the tribe's customs, healing methods, food-finding tactics, etc. is absorbing, and her willingness to forgo Western luxuries and to relish the experience is courageous and touching. Less compellingly, the author claims that she was "chosen" by the Aborigines to tell the rest of humanity that the so-called "real people" are refusing to reproduce because of the ravages of Western civilization, and that Westerners have a limited time to clean up their act. Morgan's rudimentary writing skills are stretched to the limit, and she lessens the power of her story and its egalitarian lessons by adopting the perspective that Western culture is innately inferior to the naturalistic beliefs of the Aborigines. Still, with its high-powered package of New Age philosophy wrapped in an adventure narrative, this book may be the next Celestine Prophecy. (It is interesting to observe that both books began life by being self-published.) Illustrations by Carri Garrison not seen by PW. 250,000 first printing; Literary Guild Special Release; Doubleday Book Club alternate; author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The first incarnation of this spellbinding account of an American doctor's experience on walkabout in Australia was a "peaceful self-published work." As such, it stirred up quite a bit of controversy and sold more than 370,000 copies. Very few of these ended up on library shelves, however, and HarperCollins is banking on an ongoing demand with a 250,000-copy first printing, a decision bolstered by a Literary Guild special release designation. Does this quiet little book merit such faith and enthusiasm? Yes. Why? Because Morgan's spiritual journey is as compelling as any classical myth. Morgan has called her narrative a work of fiction to protect the identities of her Aboriginal guides, to conceal the locations of sacred places, and to let readers interpret her tale as they see fit. In fact, she wants us to be as open as she was when her adventure began. Morgan believed she was being taken to an awards luncheon for her work with urban Aborigines when, sporting a fancy new suit, she climbed into a jeep and headed out of town, but hours later, she found herself at the edge of Australia's outback clad only in a thin shift, watching her possessions go up in flames. Her guides, telepathic and spiritually advanced descendants of a 50,000-year-old tradition, call themselves the "real people" and refer to Westerners as "mutants." Morgan's trek across the heart of Australia involved a series of increasingly revelatory and even miraculous occurrences. This demanding journey transformed Morgan's work as a healer into that of a messenger with a message many are eager to hear. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Marlo Morgan is a retired health-care professional. She lives in Lee Summit, Missouri. Her first novel, Mutant Message Down Under, was a New York Times bestseller for thirty-one weeks and was published in twenty-four countries.

Customer Reviews

I do not claim that it in any way makes me Aboriginal.
Frank Seeley
This book will make you treat people better, and give you a higher understanding of the way things really are.
Michael Grippi
This book is a beautiful insight and tribute to the Australian Aboriginal way of life.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

641 of 686 people found the following review helpful By Frank Seeley on September 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am sharing One Australians Perspective with you please read

Frank Seeley

Cultural Mutilation Uptop

by Chris Sitka (Australia)

Shortly after I arrived in the United States from Australia friends started asking me "What do you think of the book Mutant Message Downunder?" As this book is virtually unknown in Australia I decided to read it in order to give them an opinion. It soon became obvious why it is not a hit in Australia. Only people totally unfamiliar with Australia and the culture of its indigenous people would be taken in by the claim that this fantasy is reality.

Marlo Morgan, the author, claims that this book is a documentation of her experience with a tribe of Australian Aboriginals who chose her to carry a message of great importance to the world. She describes a journey of several months across the Australian continent in which she is taught Aboriginal cultural secrets. I am told she now gives well attended workshops teaching the insights she says they asked her to convey.

In one part of the book she is buried up to her neck in the sand to be cleansed of toxins. The fans of this book have the opposite problem. They have their heads buried in the sand. A large number of people are reading this book and have faith that its message is authentic. That is why I believe it is important for me to point out that this book a ridiculous fabrication.

I am a white Australian of European descent. I do not have any Aboriginal blood in me. I have worked for and with Australian Aboriginals, including traditional elders. I do not claim to have been initiated or told any secrets of clan lore. I have learned much from them and from studying writings about their culture for over twenty years.
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94 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Paul A. Laughlin on July 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Let me begin by saying that I am a college professor of comparative religions and an ordained minister in a progressive branch of Christianity. I am an admirer of Huxley's presentation of the perennial philosophy, Huston Smith's appreciation of the world's major faith traditions, and Joseph Campbell's conviction concerning the power of myth. I am a mystic by inclination. In other words, I am predisposed to take religion and spirituality seriously. It may come as some surprise, then, that I found Morgan's book nothing short of detestable. I forced myself to finish the wretched thing because I promised a former student who greatly admired it that I would.
The first and least of the book's problems is its utterly artless and amateurish style. To call Morgan's prose sophomoric would be to praise it far too highly. One would expect a best-selling author (or her editors) to know the difference between "farther" and "further," "lay" and "lie," "like" and "as," "racial" and "racist," and "mound" and "monolith," to cite but a few glaring examples. An acquaintance who has seen the self-published original says that it was rife with misspellings and grammatical errors as well, making the flawed edition that I read a vast improvement. Mercy. How, I wondered, could a well-educated person write such graceless prose? Eventually I answered my own question. (See below.)
The second issue -- whether this is pure fiction, partial fiction, or a factual account -- has been well argued by others. The author apparently claimed from the start, in every possible public medium, that it was based on her real experiences, then hedged, then recanted, then hedged again.
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139 of 154 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
Much of the material contained in this work by Morgan, is an ethnographic perception of indigenous Australian humanity from a superior if not lost western life-form. As an Australian Aboriginal I find it most embarrassing to read about my people, especially if they (we) are innaccurately presented to the intended audience.
Much of the stuff that Morgan claims to have been exposed to as an "initiated" outsider just would not happen. Her "intiation into the tribe" and many of the secret ceremonies she claims to have been a part of are alien concepts to me and many other Aboriginal people. The tribal structure of indigenous Australian lifestyle is very restrictive of participants for many rituals and ceremonial practices, (inclusive of members of the tribe let alone outsiders).
If you decide to read this work, please keep this in mind:
1. Women are mostly excluded from rituals of indigenous Australians (except rituals that have been developed and maintained for females:ie: birthing, rites of passage, marriage, preparing young girls for their adult life etc.,
2. You can never really develop an appreciation of any ones' culture by spending four months with them (you may develop a sense of introduction, not the sense of total knowing that Morgan claims).
3. "Walk-about" is itself a RACIST term applied to Australias' indigenous peoples by anglo-saxons to explain the Aboriginals apparent unwillingness to be controlled by the conformist expectations of the invading British migrants.
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