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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have read everything I could find about this book
I was shocked when I started reading all the reviews and (mostly negative) press about this book, as I have loved this book for years.
The "real people" (the small tribe of Aboriginal people) have a powerful understanding of spiritual things, as well as an ability to be practical and flexible. It must be understood that this "tribe" consisted of 62 people maximum,...
Published on Dec 31 2002 by Mark

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Rubbish
Intellectually, most of the ideas are better presented in Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael", "Story of B" and "My Ishmael". Esoterically, there is nothing new here. The bulk of the "inward" ideas can be gleaned from any study of Native American spirituality, the rest are lifted for the most part from "A Course in Miracles" (which is often hijacked by bestselling New Age...
Published on Sept. 15 2003 by machinus


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have read everything I could find about this book, Dec 31 2002
By 
Mark (Portland, Oregon) - See all my reviews
I was shocked when I started reading all the reviews and (mostly negative) press about this book, as I have loved this book for years.
The "real people" (the small tribe of Aboriginal people) have a powerful understanding of spiritual things, as well as an ability to be practical and flexible. It must be understood that this "tribe" consisted of 62 people maximum, and typically, they traveled in much smaller groups (about 10-12 per group). Obviously, they are NOT the majority of aboriginals in Australia, but a very small minority of people, who have decided to stop "reproducing" mainly because they have indicated that the desert is becoming hotter and there is less food to sustain them.
I never sensed that they were "depressed" about their situation; in fact, their view of death is very positive. When one of the "real people" dies, it is because they have come a point in their lives (often at age 120 or so) that they are becoming "excited" about the Spirit World. They have a celebration (a party) and after that, the individual does a certain breathing technique which allows them to shut down their "chakras" and they die.
Although we westerners may call this a form of suicide, from the "real people's" perspective, it is simply time to continue in another form, as there is an understanding and an acceptance that we lived before we came to this earth, and we will live after we leave it... we are forever beings.
There are many criticisms of the book. I will share them, and I will share my perspective on them:
1. Criticism: Men's business and Women's Business: It seems that among Aboriginals, "men's business" and "women's business" are kept separate. Yet, in the book, there seemed to be no separation between the men and the women. My perspective: the "real people" are "flexible and adaptable"; they are in very small numbers now, and perhaps they accept that some customs and traditions no longer "fit" their needs.
2. Criticism: Among Aboriginals, no-one enters another person's tribal boundaries without permission, yet in the book it was never mentioned, even though they traveled about 1400 miles. My perspective: I see the "real people" as both "flexible and adaptable"; they were not looking to establish territory, conquer, fight, steal food, or anything bad. However, perhaps there is simply an easy explanation... if the "real people" did not encounter anyone to ask permission to enter, then it simply was not necessary.
I mean, seriously, if there was no-one at the "border crossing" (so to speak), then what's the worry?
3. Criticism: Desert Aborigines do not collect dung for fuel. It would take forever to collect enough of the small scats of kangaroos and dingoes to cook anything and would be pointless given the availability of dry wood. My perspective: Morgan said they wood was used when it was available... and only when wood was not available, did they use animal dung.
4. Criticism: Burnum Burnum "denounces" Morgan. Read his brief letter:
"I Burnum Burnum, hereby sever all ties with the Author Marlo Morgan and the book entitled 'Mutant Message Down Under'. My reaction to the book was an innocent response to what I considered an account of an inner journey, which uplifted Aboriginal Australians in the eyes of the world. In my innocence, I did not understand the tribal ramifications of my support for the Author. I am a non-initiated, non-traditional, urbanised, Aboriginal from the East Coast of Australia". Yours Sincerely, BURNUM BURNUM
My perspective: In this statement, I sense no "denouncing" of Morgan, but he is severing ties because of the "ramifications" from the tribes. That's quite a difference in motivation.
5. Criticism: Morgan (allegedly) admits her book was a lie.
My perspective: Here is what I have gathered:
In a interview with SBS Radio from New York, Morgan broke down and said: "I would like to say that I'm terribly sorry and my sincere, my sincere apologies to any Australian Aboriginal person if I have offended them in any way. "I think of them in only the highest ... please read this book ... with an open mind and see if there is anything, anything at all that is derogatory to your people, because it is not. I love them. and I wish them equal opportunity and the best."
Additional criticism: (Below copied from [...] ) Meeting with Steven Segal at Warner Brothers Studios... Mr Segal invited the delegation to meet with him and other associates at his Warner Brothers studio office. Dannion Brinkley, an associate and friend of Marlo Morgan, also attended the meeting and arranged for telephone link-up with Marlo Morgan who was in New York city...
At the completion of this discussion, Marlo Morgan gave her word that an apology in writing, set on the conditions and agreements of the Elders and cited and signed by a lawyer, would be forwarded to the delegation within 48 hours.
This apology was to include the fact that her claimed journey was a Hoax...
it was bitterly disappointing when two days later, during a brief discussion with Damien Brinkley at the foundation room, we were told that we were no longer negotiating with Marlo Morgan.
My perspective:
The meeting was uneventful. Morgan has apologized only to the effect that her book may have offended people, but, never that the book was a lie.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, June 18 2004
By A Customer
This is a fantastic book, it is one of the books that lets you reconsider all the superficial things one tends to worry about.
I wanna share some of the quotes I particulary liked in the book.
How would one put a coin in a telephone, dial a number and call someone?? We use mental telepathy...
According to the Aborigines, there are no misfits, or accidents, just mysteries not yet revealed by man.
Everything exists for a certain purpose.
We don't celebrate getting older, we celebrate getting wiser and better.
All in all this book helps you to learn so much more about the culture of this indigenous people than you could ever do through any other book.....
I recommend it highly and hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars resonate., Feb. 12 2004
By A Customer
I love it when people get upset about the facts vs the fiction involved. All I know and feel deep inside of me is that this book resonates. For all those stuck up people who see things otherwise, kudos to you: you'll be drowning in doubt until you open your heart and begin to look at things beyond the facts.
Peace light and love.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Rubbish, Sept. 15 2003
By 
"machinus" (Saint Paul, MN United States) - See all my reviews
Intellectually, most of the ideas are better presented in Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael", "Story of B" and "My Ishmael". Esoterically, there is nothing new here. The bulk of the "inward" ideas can be gleaned from any study of Native American spirituality, the rest are lifted for the most part from "A Course in Miracles" (which is often hijacked by bestselling New Age publishers, but still worth reading in it's original form), with a tip of the hat to Joseph Campbell. From an anthropological standpoint, her references and customs are from a different continent entirely (that is, North America) with only a cursory (and stereotypical) amount of detail about the Australian Aborigines. I found it interesting that Marianne Williamson is quoted on the cover (author of "A Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles"), as she is a partner in crime to the author at the same publisher, Harper Collins. I'm assuming Marianne's quote will help sell her book as well, and they can all share in the spoils. I wonder if the author took her $3,000,000 advance from the publisher and put it to good use protecting and preserving the aboriginal culture she attempts to exploit?
To put it back in context, she actually apologized to the Aboriginal tribal elders for the book. In a comic note, the apology was brokered by the utterly respected spiritual leader and noted Hollywood action star Steven Seagal:
....P>Lastly, the "official aboriginal source" who lends credence to this absurd tale recanted on any approval before his death. After pressure from the Aboriginal tribes the work was labeled "fiction" by the publisher, although her introduction still claims it's a real work based on her experiences. I'd give it a D-. Normally, I'd give it an F, but I'm impressed by her complete lack of conscience in the name of profit. Sorry to rain on the parade, but there are more wholesome and helpful esoteric texts out there...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ugly, badly written fraud, Sept. 24 2002
By 
G. Miller (Berlin Deutschland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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. Her 'tribe' pay no respect to territories of other tribes, enter sacred sites without ritual preparation, carry all sorts of stuff with them and use valuable water for cooking. They collect dingo droppings for fuel - although dead wood is far more plentiful. Her description of the way didgeridoos are made is completely wrong.They are cut from living trees, not dead ones; termites are found on the inside not on the outside (they die in heat and light); and they do not make "sawdust" - they digest wood. Anyone who has actually seen this could not make these kind of errors.
This book is neither fact nor fiction. It misrepresesents exploits indigenous Australians with its claims of authenticity, and exploits her readers' spiritual longing and desire to connect with and learn from the indigenous peoples of the earth. The fact that this book has achieved mainstream popularity indicates a genuine and widespread desire to learn about aboriginal spirituality. I find it a tragedy that this gap is being filled by such a culturally worthless piece of deception.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Focus on the message., June 14 2003
By 
"tsunamidreamer" (Burlingame, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Fact or fiction, this book offers a touching and insightful view of the Aborigine culture and world view. It is easily dismissed as "new age-y" because of the magical way in which Morgan relates the culture and her experience as a white American woman on a walkabout with an Aborigine tribe. In order to appreciate the story, don't get too caught up in the truth or untruth, rather, focus on the message it contains... respect for nature, for one another, interconnectedness, and magic... and you will enjoy it. :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good message despite the controversy, Nov. 30 2001
Mutant Message Down Under is a book of many facets. Regardless of how much is true, (and which, by the way, I feel is not the point of the book) the message has a universal approach and one that should be read with an open mind.
Author Marlo Morgan's story of her journey across the Australian Outback seems unbelievable at first. Why would a tribe of Aborigines specifically select Ms. Morgan for this journey? What makes her so special? Also, it is hard to imagine a woman from a large U.S. city, dressed to the nines and getting excited for what she thinks is an award presentation for her civic work with half-breed Aborigines, then realizing her "award" is a 4-month long walkabout with The Real People -- and accepting this fate so readily!! Eating bugs and tadpoles seems second nature to Marlo Morgan -- Survivor contestants would have nothing on her!
But Mutant Message is more than just this outrageous walk across the desert. The Real People have something to say, and they have chosen Marlo Morgan as their vehicle to spread the word. While I'm not sure if I agree with everything these Aborigines have said, there are several things that make good sense, regardless of how much into the controversy a person is. Living life simply, but honestly; not putting too much importance into material things; harboring bad feelings or grudges instead of just closing the circle and moving on -- these are all wonderful life lessons that would make us all better people if only we could do them.
In my opinion, Mutant Message is not a full-on masterpiece; the writing mostly reads like a National Geographic article. However, peel away the scientificness and controversy, as well as all the things that seems unreal or fiction, and what you would have left is this beautiful message about life, all living things, and how we are all one people. Certainly this message needs to be heard.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mutant Message Hoax?, March 3 2003
By 
I started reading this book at the suggestion of a friend and very quickly felt that something was wrong. Although I have never read any other books about Australian aborigines I had a gut feeling that much of this was made up. I did a quick search on [the internet] under the author's name and came up with a critique by an Australian anthropologist which should be read in its entirety.
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4.0 out of 5 stars as fiction still fascinating!, Jan. 26 2004
The author states in her forward that this is not about all aboriginals but a small select group and they are what this story pertains to. It is listed as fiction and that is what it is. Even though it is fiction, it still has an important message to those of us who are open-minded and like to make up their own minds as to whether or not there is any validity in what she has to say.
The author is summoned to Australia and invited to meet with an an aboriginal tribe. She thinks it is going to be a luncheon deal and ends up going on a walk-about with them. What she learned about the nature of these people and their beliefs was fascinating. They were here for over 50,000 years, according to the author (doubtful), one of the first ever.
She said they could communicate through telepathy and didn't need to speak because of the purity in their souls-also said because of their purity they didn't need Jesus (this is where we know for sure it is fiction). We, the mutants, cannot because we have too much in our minds that we don't want others to see and want to hide from others, so we can't open up to telepathy. Possessions are very important to us and to them it is not. The simple life, void of jealousy, greed, stress, hate, etc. has made them a people who live to be a hundred and twenty years old. When they finally decide that they want to move on to a new life and leave this one they have a celebration and then they just shut down their bodies and die and come to another phase in their being. Interesting thought.
The things that they ate are certainly not what we would be used to and would make many of us gag at the thought, but it was interesting that while we tend to get senile and lose our eyesight and hearing as we age, they didn't seem to, they were very alert and healthy. They had there own system of healing that, if true, would be absolutely amazing, but (?)....!
It was interesting also, that, in their secret hide-a-way, they had their history painted on their walls, showing that there had probably been nuclear testing and flying saucers indicating aliens-which at one time I thought could be possible, but upon reflection, I think they would have been man-made and if there were any odd looking characters flying them it would more likely be Satan's demons or the like.
According to her story, they have practiced environmental care for as long as they have been on earth and yet have now decided to not have anymore children because the earth is being destroyed an cannot sustain life much longer unless we take better care of it.
She says she has been chosen to send their message with hopes that enough will listen. I really enjoyed the book and know that there were many truths in it that we would benefit from, if heeded, and then there are some that each individual needs to realize that are subtle propaganda and dangerous to an unsuspecting Christian. It is a book that will make you think. Give it a try!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A really good message for people to hear., Sept. 3 2003
By 
Chip Hunter "chips_books" (Gainesville, FL United States) - See all my reviews
I give this book a lower rating because of the poor writing it contains. I do reccomend the book because it will give most people a very different perspective on a lot of things in our world. I am glad that I read it.
This book tells a very sad tale about a primitive culture that is close to being lost from this planet with very little to record its existence. They feel that modern society has caused their downfall (which it may have in many ways) and that there is no longer a place for them in this world. While this society is very primitive when compared to our standards, I believe that there is a lot that we could learn from their way of life.
I think that this book brings up very important issues dealing with society today. While I am not a "hippy" or much of an environmentalist, I do believe that people have very screwy perception of what life is all about and what will bring them happiness. I feel that society has fallen away from spirituality and from concern for nature that we possessed in the past. I think that the Abos belief in life and in living in nature actually makes good sense. I believe that people would be much happier living among nature, and allowing nature to provide for us than we would competing among ourselves and restricting our lives to cities and highways.
I am not sure how realistic it is for me to hope for a change in society that would transform it so drastically from what it currently is. However, I do think that people REALLY need to seriously consider the consequences that our actions may have on the environment and life in the future.
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Mutant Message Down Under
Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan (Paperback - May 13 2004)
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