Life in Lesu is a vivid account of life in the late Stone-Age Melanesian society, by the first anthropologist and first white person to live there. Hortense Powdermaker, author of the widely praised Stranger and Friend, provides here both a mine of ethnological information and an absorbing personal view of daily life in a primitive community.
Dr. Powdermaker lived for ten and a half months in Lesu, as a close observer and participant in the events of the village. She describes the individual and social life of the Lesu native from infancy to death: how society and family are organized; pregnancy and birth rites; the care and instruction of children; initiation ceremonies, marriage, and sexual life; knowledge, magic, and religion. Her tact inspired the confidence of the people, and they invited her to all their ceremonies, talked of their customs, taboos, and beliefs, and shared with her their rituals and tales.
This edition includes Dr. Powdermaker's essay "Further Reflections on Lesu and Malinowski's Diary," in which she assesses the influence her Lesu experience has on her later, varied fieldwork and talks about the controversy over Malinowski's Diary in the light of her own association with him as a student.