'On the last day, we flew out to Manono aboard an RNZAF Iroquois. The doors were open and the beauty of Samoa was literally beneath our feet. I have always known it to be a fragile kind of place: tsunamis, like all the other disasters, big and small, show that we have a pact with nature to enjoy 'paradise'. Sometimes nature reasserts supremacy and paradise becomes a nightmare.'
The South Pacific is in the midst of calamitous times. Even now, shops burn and people die in anti-Chinese riots in Papua New Guinea, reporters are censored in Fiji, and countries like the Solomon Islands and Tonga live in non-democratic twilight zones: one occupied by foreign powers, the other controlled by an ageing bachelor king. It is a region ravaged by ongoing tragedy, both natural and man-made.
Swimming with Sharks is roving reporter Michael Field's absorbing account of first-hand experiences within this historic unrest. Rich with anecdotes from 30 years of living and working in the region, this timely book is at once an investigation of the Pacific's recent political history, a collection of disarmingly frank, pieced-together memories, and a window into the Pacific's illusory, often indescribable way of life.
'[Swimming with Sharks] reflects the intense engagement [Field] has with the Pacific and his ability to draw together the most ridiculous and the most sublime into an interesting fusion of experiences from around the vast oceanic continent . . . with Field acting as an eye and ear for the ordinary people.'
—New Zealand Herald