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

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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.
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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 (560 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

676 of 723 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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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Sam Andrews on April 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
It is sad that people still continue to buy and praise this book. For those American readers who may not understand the issues, please understand that the book is offensive to many Aboriginal people - the very people Morgan claims to be celebrating. It is not a minor squabble about whether it is true or not (although you should know that Marlo Morgan herself admitted it was fiction when confronted by members of the Dumbartung Aboriginal corporation). This matters to Aboriginal people - they are tired of being misrepresented, tired of having white people exploit theem for material (or personal spiritual) gain. To suggest they should forget about it is to fail to understand the long history of misrepresentation and the terrible consequences this has had for Aboriginal people. Remember it is a 'real' people you are talking about, real people with feelings who have suffered oppression for 212 years, people who are always talked 'about' by others and not allowed to speak for themselves. Saying it is a metaphor for a deeper spiritual truth is not good enough - Aboriginal people are not metaphors. Read the Dumbartung web site (in a earlier review I think) and discover for yourself.
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112 of 121 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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114 of 125 people found the following review helpful By G. Miller on September 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
It's extremely rare that Australian aborigines choose one person to speak for them collectively, this book made it happen. Robert Eggelston, director of an aboriginal cultural institute was empowered by a coalition of many tribes to condemn this book as a fabrication and a fraud. He travelled in the outback for 16 months trying to find any aborigines who had heard of Ms Morgan or the 'Real People' tribe she claims to have met. No one had. Is it plausible that a previously unknown American woman would discover a tribe that has evaded discovery by european settlers for 200 years and by other tribes for 50 000 years or more?
Morgan claims her story is true, and only sold as a novel to protect this special tribe. But almost every page of this book contains "facts" that are so wildly innaccurate that it is inconcieivable that she experienced anything of the desert, let alone ancient nomadic ways and lore. She describes cutting her feet horrendously while walking over spinifex grass, but spinifex grows in clumps and in the desert is widely spaced. Not even experienced bushman can walk around in the desert sun heat without a hat, the way Ms Morgan claims she has. People die doing that, including aborigines. Ms Morgan survives, however and even meets crocodiles out there.
The tribe she describes is nothing like any other aborigines in Australia, but surprisingly similar to American Indians. This tribe has a chief, like no other in Australia, and he wears a head dress of parrot feathers. Names and tribal structures are completely unlike anything in ANY Australian tribe, but, again, more like Native Americans, as are desriptions of rituals, and musical instruments. Her descriptions of nomad life often seem derived partly from books and partly from pure fantasy.
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