"In this fascinating book, Trompf brings to fruition fifteen years of unstinting research on religion in the southwest Pacific region....Trompf's breadth of erudition and vision...is bound to stir fresh and stimulating debate, not only because it interprets the world of Melanesian retributive logics but also because it takes on the task of changing them." History of Religions
"Trompf pointedly rebukes materialist theories of human behavior and also notions of primitive irrationality....The volume combines an extraordinary, even numbing, assortment of ethnographic detail with a simple, unitary, explanatory premise." Lamont Lindstrom, The Contemporary Pacific
In this study Garry Trompf shows how various aspects of 'payback', both negative and positive, provide the best indices to an understanding of Melanesian views of life. The book explores the reasons why people 'pay back' and opens up a whole dimension in the cross-cultural study of human consciousness.