In English and many other languages the name 'Kon-Tiki' has become a byword for adventure and the exotic. The journey of the
Kon-Tiki from Peru to Polynesia in 1947 became one of the founding myths of the postwar world. In the voyage of six Scandinavians
and a parrot on a balsa raft across the Pacific Ocean the classic journey of discovery was re-invented for generations to
come. Kon-Tiki spoke of heroism, masculinity, free-spirited rebellion against scientific dogmatism, and the promise of an
attainable exotic world, while it updated these mythological staples to fit the times. After years of relentless media exploitation
of the 101-day raft journey, Heyerdahl emerged as the protagonist in a legend that helped to create a new postwar West. A
Hero for the Atomic Age tells the story of how Heyerdahl organized an expedition to sail a balsa raft from Callao in Peru
to the Tuamotu Islands in French Polynesia, and explains how he turned this physical crossing into an epic narrative that
became imbued with a universal appeal.
The book also addresses, for the first time, the problematic nature of Heyerdahl's
theory that a white culture-bearing race had initiated all the world's great civilizations.