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My Samoan Chief [Paperback]

Fay G. Calkins
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1, 1971 087022932X 978-0870229329 Pacific Classics
This is an engaging autobiographical account of a young American woman's life in her Samoan husbands native home.

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My Samoan Chief + Cultural Anthropology: A Global Perspective (8th Edition)
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Editorial Reviews


"A warm and observant picture of modern Samoan life."

Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; Pacific Classics edition (April 1, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087022932X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870229329
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
My Samoan Chief tells the experiences of a young American woman who falls in love with a Samoan exchange student, marries him and returns to the Islands. Throughout the book she encounters Faa Samoa (The Samoan Way). Because she is palagi (pa-la-ngee - European) certain concessions are made. Some of the most funny stories for me, like trying to get shoes in the United States for her fiance and his sister - their feet were TOO wide, were funny to me because I'm married to a Samoan myself and had exactly the same experiences Fay Calkins had. If you plan to go overseas to the South Sea Islands, you gotta read this to get the flavour of meeting some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Father in book April 10, 2000
This was a nostalgic book. I was born in Pago Pago in l952 from East European immigrants escaping Soviet occupation. We now live in the Michigan. The reason this was nostalgic is because my father is mentioned in the book as the kind Latvian physician who helped deliver the authors baby. My father is still alive and just read the book with great interest. He says it is very accurate, entertaining, and a good look at Samoan life. I would love to be able to contact the author and tell her about the wonderful doc that I know that delivered her child.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and insightful September 1, 2009
I was married to a Samoan and I am raising Samoan children... this book was hysterically accurate for day to day living within the culture in my opinion and experience. I would recommend it for any palagi who plans to spend any time in Samoa or to anyone planning on marrying into a Samoan family to get an idea of what to expect and to have some understanding of the thought methods of the "family" culture.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear dipiction of "faaSamoa" August 3, 2007
I grew up in the polynesian culture and for two years I lived, ate and breathed "Samoa" by attending a Samoan church, singing the hymns in Samoan and dancing with the church up and down the coast of California. As well, my BIL is Samoan and while reading this book I kept shaking my head a vigorous YES at what the author so clearly outlined. I was delighted, moved to tears, captivated, and thrilled to have read this story of life in Samoa. I read it from cover to cover while on a month long vacation throughout the Hawaiian islands and every chance I got I called my sister to read her bits and pieces of this wonderfully crafted book. Her understanding of the "Samoan way" was reinforced by the authors life experience. Anyone know where she is now??? I recommend this book HIGHLY, for anyone...anywhere....anytime.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lighthearted and educated look at samoan culture May 2, 2008
Fay Calkins and her husband, Vai, meet while studying for graduate degrees in the U.S. They return to Vai's native Samoa with dreams of developing Samoan politics and economics. "My Samoan Chief" offers a humorous look into the cultural and practical issues that confront their academic ideas. Fay provides a loving Western lens on different aspects of Samoan culture.

This is a great read for economists, and those interested in third world development. Even when development ideas come from the inside out, it proves nearly impossible to implement them without significant cultural adjustment. An enlightening and beautiful story of the interactions of Western and Samoan culture.
Also, a well written and entertaining read.
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