Read Noa Noa: The Tahitian Journal by Paul Gauguin O. F. Theis Online


Paul Gauguin fled what he called "filthy Europe" in 1891 to what he hoped would be an unspoiled paradise, Tahiti. He painted 66 magnificent can vases during the first two years he spent there and kept notes from which he later wrote Noa Noa — a journal recording his thoughts and impressions of that time.Noa Noa — the most widely known of Gauguin's writings — is reproducedPaul Gauguin fled what he called "filthy Europe" in 1891 to what he hoped would be an unspoiled paradise, Tahiti. He painted 66 magnificent can vases during the first two years he spent there and kept notes from which he later wrote Noa Noa — a journal recording his thoughts and impressions of that time.Noa Noa — the most widely known of Gauguin's writings — is reproduced here from a rare early edition (1919), in a lucid translation capturing the artist's unpretentious style. Page after page reveals Gauguin's keen observations of Tahiti and its people, and his passionate struggle to achieve the inner harmony he expressed so profoundly on canvas. Gauguin's prose is as seductive as his paintings, filled with descriptions of warm seas, hidden lagoons, lush green forests, and beautiful Maori women.The journal is captivating reading, offering a compelling autobiographical fragment of the soul of a genius and a rare glimpse of Oceanian culture. The brief periods of happiness Gauguin found among the Tahitians are eloquently expressed in his narrative. We understand the motives that drove him and gain a deeper appreciation of his art.Today the manuscript provides unparalleled insight into Gauguin's thoughts as he strove to achieve spiritual peace, and into the wellsprings of a singular artistic style which changed the course of modern art. This wonderfully affordable edition — enhanced by 24 of Gauguin's South Seas drawings — makes a unique and passionate testament accessible to all art lovers....

Title : Noa Noa: The Tahitian Journal
Author :
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ISBN : 9780486248592
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 65 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Noa Noa: The Tahitian Journal Reviews

  • Phyllis
    2019-03-18 16:48

    In 1894, Paul Gauguin left France for Tahiti to get away from the decadence of Europe. What he found was beautiful islands, tropical warmth, and most importantly-unspoiled, undecadent, unEuropean and extremely beautiful people. This book was the journal he kept. It is quite a lovely book with his art work. His thoughts and his writing are quite lyrical. He also discovered that Europeans had already tried to change these beautiful people with their religion and customs. He lived there for two years and did some of his best work on the islands. 3.5 stars.

  • Nicole~
    2019-03-25 13:04


  • Farhan Khalid
    2019-03-17 13:56

    It was an artistic missionFeverish expectancyThe place retains its original character of solitude and isolationOrange sails on the blue sea, and often the line of reefs shown in a sudden silvery gleam under the sun(Queen) dispersed grace everywhere about her, made everything she touched a work of artDepleting primitive beauty(Her Arms were like) two columns of temple, simple straightHorizontal lines of shoulderBlack dress, with bare feet, and a fragrant flower behind the earFor a long time I was caressed by the memoryThe dream brutally disappointed by the actualityTo find the traces of past if any such traces remained?Too violent contact with the waves and the rocks. To the left was the wilderness with its perspective of great forestsMysterious sacred writing of the ancient OrientI am learning to know the silence of a Tahitian nightThese regular intervals of light suggest a musical instrument to meAt night by the grace of the moon calls forth in the memory of the dreamer well-loved melodiesA Maori hut does not separate man from life, from space, from the infinite(Nature) is rich, she is generous, she refuses to no one who will ask his share of her treasures of which she has inexhaustible reserves in the trees, in the mountainsThe landscape with it violent, pure colors, dazzled and blinded meSingle mobile line a mingling of all joy and all sufferingThese large eyes --- fear and the desire for the unknown, the melancholy of bitter experience which lies at the root of all pleasuresCivilization (and its absurdities) are falling from me little by littleClandestine and sadistic colors of loveDense curtain of treesDivine brutalityThrough her dress of almost transparent rose-colored muslin one could see the golden skin of her shoulders and armsLaughter and melancholyHappiness and work rose up together with the sun, radiant like itI enter into mysteries which hitherto remained inaccessible to meA phosphorescent light was streaming from her staring eyesTwo opposite beings, infinitely varied, were mingled in oneTehura is nothing but a black point in a circle of light:Vague memories

  • Dimitris
    2019-03-06 14:09

    The European invasion and monotheism have destroyed these vestiges of civilization which had its own grandeur. In contact with us, they have become "savages", in the sense which the Latin occident has given this word. (p.47)More than anything else I enjoyed these remarks about the 19th century Tahitians made by Gauguin and his report on their intricate, lost Religion, all in the third half of his notebook. A great mind, as I have suspected.

  • Stephanie
    2019-02-24 20:02

    Paul Gauguin's journal of his time in Tahiti, living with a native girl in an attempt to better understand the native Tahitian culture, and make himself a more free and natural artist by getting himself outside of the stifling Euorpean society he comes from. The journal provides a glimpse of Tahiti in the late 19th century and a glimpse into some of Gauguin's artisitc motivations and inspirations, but it also allows the reader to examine some interesting contradictions in Gauguin: he wants to become part of the Tahitian community he adopts as his home, and has a much better understanding and admiration of their customs than some other Europeans, but still is encumbered by his European background and sees things through a European filter even when attempting to leave European ideas behind. He finds love and happiness with the young native girl (the difference in their ages and the fact that he has left his wife in Europe is probably a barrier to complete sympathy with Gauguin for most readers), but suddenly leaves her and his adopted Tahitian community at the end of the journal to return home to Europe. In a way, despite his quest and his deepening understanding, he continues the European history of seeing Tahiti as a place to arrive at, conquer or use for his own purposes, and abandon when convenient.

  • Cock Johnson
    2019-03-11 18:10

    I am a huge fan of Gauguin. Since I first read about him I've been a sucker for his philosophy, and this short work is one of the few personal looks into it. This work illustrates the culmination of his life and ideals, where he finally moves to the depths of Tahiti, a land hardly tainted by European influence, for two years in a romantic attempt to "go native". It seems he was successful and quite happy there, and it is no wonder that he returned to spend the final ten years of his life among these primitive people of the Oceanic Islands. I do wish he hadn't spent so much time chronicling Tahitian mysticism. I suppose it does illustrate the similarities and advancements of these people looked at as savages, but it still serves as a dull moment in his memoir.

  • Monica
    2019-02-27 14:56

    This is a beautifully produced little edition of Gauguin's journal, a work of art in itself. I'm surprised I didn't comment on it when I read it a couple years ago. He describes moving to Tahiti, the friends he won over, the paintings he worked on, little bits of language he learns. He writes with an artists passion and even crosses over to the realm of complete fantasy.

  • Nathan
    2019-03-25 19:09

    Gauguin's account of his two years in Tahiti are interesting. Much of the later half of the text is about Maori spirituality and their pantheon. Yet the first part recounts his experience of arriving on the island at the time of the death of King Pomare. There are descriptions about the effects of colonialism upon Maori culture and the beauty of the earlier age. Gauguin describes components of his time as he tries to become less urbane by moving out of the city center of Papeete into the rural countryside of Tahiti. He takes up residency in Mataïea. In the countryside he learns of some of the Tahitian myths and beliefs of the area. One that stands out is about the phosphorescent dust from mushrooms. The locals believed that the lights were spirits of the dead. Gauguin also describes how he came to "marry" Tehura. I remember hearing about this in my art history class but it is different to read Gauguin's firsthand account. His portrayal is almost like he fell into the arrangement while traveling through Faone (p59) and that her age of 13 was normal for the time and culture of Tahiti (p61). Tehura was "given" to Gauguin by her adoptive mother with an agreed upon 8 day trial run. After which Tehura returned home, on her own, to check in with her family and then decided if she wanted to be permanently Gauguin's companion. The ordeal seems very matter of fact and not as salacious as I remember it was described in class. Gauguin describes a happy life with Tehura. There was one point where he wrote about her laying on a bed afraid of spirits and it sounds just like his painting Spirit of the Dead Watching(p73), see below quote. Throughout the book are wonderful woodcuts. Some resemble paintings of his that I remember. On many of these he carved the initials TSO but I am not sure what they reference. I need to research some more about this time in his life and what happened after he left Tahiti."Quickly, I struck a match, and saw....Tehura, immobile, naked, lying face downward flat on the bed with the eyes inordinately large with fear. She looked at me, and seemed not to recognize me. As for myself I stood for some moments strangely uncertain. A contagion emanated from the terror of Tehura. I had the illusion that a phosphorescent light was streaming from her staring eyes. Never had I seen her so beautiful, so tremulously beautiful." p73

  • Lake Lady
    2019-03-06 19:00

    A glimpse into the thoughts of Paul Gaugin during his first trip to Tahiti. No art historical babble, just the words of the artist himself describing his experiences and some of the Maori mythology he learned from his Tahitian wife. Well worth reading if you're interested in his work at all. (the version I read had no introduction as was paperback published by dover)

  • Patricia
    2019-03-26 15:50

    For artists only who are curious about Gaugin. The good news: OMG, you can totally visualize his paintings of Tahiti as he writes. Which came first the journal or the paintings? Written like an acid trip or a feverish dream. The bad news: He really married a 13-year old girl and abandoned her when he went back to Europe. Yuck.

  • Andy Montero
    2019-03-19 13:06

    Interesting read. Truly a glimpse into another world, a search for primitivism in a colonized paradise. I wish the book was longer, and I felt like I was immersed in this world.

  • Josanna Thompson
    2019-03-01 15:52

    This is a very enlightening book into the Tahitian Culture. Learned a lot.

    2019-03-12 11:46

    The Tahitian journal of GauguinFirst hand account of Paul Gauguin’s years spent in Tahiti. Poetic and probably embellished to some extent but overall an interesting read.

  • Fiona
    2019-03-24 11:43

    The French painter Paul Gauguin traveled to Tahiti in the late 1890´s. This is his diary of his stay in Tahiti.He found a slower pace of life and finally became friendly with the natives in the village. He wonders about the term "savages". Who are the savages? These natives or those in the civilized world. He takes on a local wife (concubine, really). She teaches him about the local gods and mythology. The diary ends with his return to the civilized world - without his wife.This is a diary, without dates or chapters or any other division. At first, it was difficult reading as the writing seemed rambling. After a while, I got used to the writing. Maybe in other editions there are chapter divisions.I enjoyed his description of the local mythological characters.

  • Maria Landschoot
    2019-02-24 14:58

    Paul Gauguin is one of my favorite painters. (Actually, as I write this, there is a print of his painting Mahana No Atua hanging next to me on my bedroom wall.) So, during my winter break, I decided to read his Tahitian journal, Noa Noa.Noa Noa is a travelogue written by Gauguin, first published in 1901. Although, Gauguin billed the book as his genuine experiences, it seems pretty clear to me and other critics that it's mostly fictional or exaggerated. That being said, I found the book to be very interesting.From a narrative perspective, Noa Noa is a bit dull. Gauguin's writing style has a tendency to be wordy and pedantic. However, from an ideological perspective it's quite interesting. To my mind, Gauguin is an excellent example of Romanticism and Romantic thought.If you don't know, Romanticism was an artistic and ideological movement that reacted against the Enlightenment. Romantics believed that the world could not be understood purely though the lens of science and rational thought. Instead, the focused on emotion, individualism, the wonders of the national world, and the past. Gauguin is famous for his disgust for European society, which he believed had become corrupted by industrialization and modernization. He journeyed to the island of Tahiti in search of a more authentic way of life which would connect him to nature and genuine human experience. As Gauguin says in Noa Noa: All the joys -- animal and human -- of a free life are mine. I have escaped everything that is artificial, conventional, customary. I am entering into truth, into nature. Having the certitude of a succession of days like this present one, equally free and beautiful, peace descends on me. I develop normally and no longer occupy myself with useless vanities. In some ways, this is lovely sentiment -- and it translates into lovely art. Gauguin's paintings are alluring and colorful, depicting a world that is a mixture of fantastical imaginings and sunlight. Romantic artists attempt to depict the world not as it is seen by the eye but how it is perceived by the human mind and soul. In large part, it is an effective rejoinder to the Neoclassical movement and resulted in the priceless works of artists like Caspar David Friedrich and Théodore Géricault (who, incidentally, are both on my list of favorite artists).However, it is very easy to look at Gauguin's paintings, say they are beautiful and otherworldly, and forget that they were modeled on real people and real cultures. Noa Noa, besides being a perfect example of the the Romantic ideology, is also a problematic text. While reading, I winced more than once when Gauguin made an off hand remark about the inferiority or primitiveness of the Tahitian people. While he clearly admires their culture, there are also clear undertones of racism. He repeatedly refers to them as savages and notes that they are childlike.In some ways, Gauguin's paintings rob their subjects of their humanity, making them stand-ins for his ideological quest instead of real people. One can make the argument that many artists use their subjects in similar ways, however Gauguin's paintings are particularly problematic in that they further stereotype and dehumanize a group of people who were already stereotyped and dehumanized. Perhaps the best example of this is Gauguin's description of a walk through the forest that he takes with a Tahitian friend:With the suppleness of an animal and the graceful litheness of an androgyne he walked a few paces in advance of me...Was it really a human being walking there ahead of me? Was it the naive friend by whose combined simplicity and complexity I had been so attracted? Was it not rather the forest itself, the living Forest, without sex -- and yet alluring? While his ideas have a sort of poetic resonance, they are extremely problematic when you consider that he is reducing a real person to vegetation. This makes Noa Noa a difficult text. Should one look at it as a reminder of a past dominated by racism and colonialism? Or, is it more helpful to set Gauguin's artistic achievements aside from his shortcomings as an individual? Whichever answer comes to mind, Noa Noa is certainly a text worth reading.

  • Siv30
    2019-03-11 17:45

    אסטרולוג, 123 עמ', תרגום ס. עלילא רבים מכירים את המשנה הסדורה של גוגן שקרא להתנערות מהמערביות ומהשלכות הקולוניאליזם התרבותי. לאחרונה יצא ספר "פרא אציל", שבו מוגשת המשנה הזו בשיטתיות, אולם אפשר לראות את ניצניה גם ב"נואה נואה" יומן המסע של גוגן לטהיטי.גוגן ביקר בטהיטי במהלך שתי תקופות נפרדות, אחת בשנות ה- 90 המוקדמות של המאה ה- 19 ואחת במחצית שנות ה- 90.היומן מתאר את תקופתו הראשונה ומסתיים בפרידה מהואהינה שלו, פילגש צעירה (בת 13) איתה חי רוב התקופה.האמת היא, שאת 10 עמ' שבין עמ' 107 ל- 117 לא קראתי והגעתי ישר לסוף הסיפור ואני אסביר גם למה זה קרה לי ולמה אני לא מסוגלת לחזור ולקרוא את העמודים החסרים.לספר ישנם שני קווי עלילה מקבילים: זהו שיר הלל לנשים המאוריות ולעם המאורי. ליופיין, האירוטיות שלהן, הצלילות והרגישות שלהן. העם המאורי על אליו, שדיו ומנהגיו מקסימים אותו והוא מחליט לחיות את שארית חיו בקרבם. מאידך זוהי מסה נוקבת כנגד השתלטות האירופאים על התרבות ועל החיים בטהיטי תוך דחיקת התרבות הילידית עד כדי כמעט מחיקתה.את העובדה שגוגן לקח לו את טאהורה לואהינה (פילגש) קיבלתי אם כי היה קשה לי מאוד. כל העובדות היו נגדו:אדם המטיף למוסריות של העמים הלבנים האירופאים ביחסם לילידים היה צריך לקחת צעד אחורה ולבחון את האמנות שלו לנוכח ההתנהגות הניצול שבהתנהגותו.אבל כאמור, עם העובדה הזו עוד הצלחתי להסתדר. אבל, כשגיליתי במהלך קריאת ביוגרפיה שלו שנמצאת ברשת, שהוא נטש את הילדה הזו, וברח חזרה לצרפת, כשגילה שהיא בהריון, זה כבר הרתיח אותי ושרף אצלי פיוז.מה גם שהשקרן עלוב הנפש, לא עשה צדק בנפשו וביומן הוא כותב :"נאלצתי לחזור לצרפת. ענייני משפחה חיוניים חייבו אותי לשוב. היי שלום, ארץ מכניסת אורחים, ארץ תענוגות, מולדת החופש והיופי!"(120)קראתי את הדפים האחרונים של היומן בזהירות מתוך רצון אמיתי לתת הזדמנות לעלוב הנפש לתקן דרכו, אבל הוא לא מקבל את המחילה, שכן בנוסף לכל הצרות, מהביוגרפיה שלו עולה שלאחר שעזב את טהיטי לא חזר למשפחתו אלא הלך לחיות עם ילדה בת 14! שניתנה לו במתנה.למזלו של גוגן, את העובדות המבישות האלה גיליתי כאמור כשהייתי בסוף המסה, ולכן לא קראתי רק 10 עמ'.בסוף הקריאה מלווה אותי תחושה קשה של רמיה. גוגן לטעמי היה אדם לא ישר שמטיף מהפה אל החוץ ולא באמת מאמין בדרך הנכונה ובזכות של הילידים להיחשב בני אדם כי אם הוא היה מאמין בכך, הוא לא היה בוחר בדרך שתהרוס את אותה ילדה. עבורו זו היתה תקופה יפה, שאיפשרה לו חופש מיני, אומנותי ויצירתי לשחרר את ההגיגים ההזויים שלו בו הוא מספר כמה הילידים מנוצלים ע"י האירופאים הרעים.כן, הם, האירופאים האלה הרחוקים רעים. הוא נהדר.האירוע הזה גם עורר אותי לחשוב עד כמה הדברים ביומן מסולפים. עד כמה גוגן מתאים אותם למציאות שהיה רוצה לראות ושמתאימה לתפיסה שלו.אבל שתדעו, יש קרמה בעולם והוא קיבל את העונש שלו. בשנת 1895 גילו אצלו את חיידק העגבת. הוא נפטר צעיר בגיל 55 בשנת 1903.

  • Rodrigo Ferrão
    2019-03-19 18:56

    Paul Gauguin não se limitou a ser um grande pintor. Pegou num caderno e escreveu um pequeno livro. Noa Noa é o título. Uma viagem ao Tahiti, local que não estamos habituados a ver descrito. Frases:"A nobreza era hereditária (...). Hoje é a fortuna que é hereditária, não será um privilégio igual?""Eu entendo que numa sociedade, todos os homens têm o direito de viver, e de viver bem proporcionalmente ao seu trabalho.""Um jovem incapaz de uma loucura, não é jovem, é velho"

  • Crow Quill Studio
    2019-03-06 19:53

    CAVEAT EMPTOR! This little volume is full of frustrating typographical errors.The supplemental information provided in this edition of Noa Noa is quite interesting, and worth a read. The Appendix, in particular — a 1903 memorial by Charles Morice — brings some significant discrepancies and omissions to light, and reminds the reader to take Gauguin's words with a grain of salt.I wish that the artist had included more information about his painting, materials, and daily living in this book (I found my attention waning during long descriptions of Maori legends and beliefs). But it is still worth reading — particularly if you are interested in Gauguin's life and influences.NOTE: The first section of Noa Noa, "Point de Vue," is not included in this edition, but it is available in French on the Project Gutenberg web site (ebook #11646). [km]

  • Melanie
    2019-03-14 20:11

    It was okay. I guess it's a view into the mind of an artist but it's more of a view into the bigoted minds of the people of that time. For example, Gauguin "marries" a 13-year-old Tahitian girl but then leaves her about a year later when he returns to France. He justifies this by saying a Tahitian of 13 is equivalent to a European of about 20. Then throughout he refers to her as a "child," so I guess not.It would have been better if I had read this before I went to the Gauguin museum in Turavao, Tahiti, where they seem to worship Gauguin--not just at the museum but throughout Tahiti and possibly all of French Polynesia. This high esteem is incomprehensible to me. Maybe they haven't read this book.(By the way, the museum is really bad. There is not a single original painting and the reproductions are not in good shape.)

  • Gijs Grob
    2019-03-04 16:59

    Gelezen in de Nederlandse vertaling van Johan de Molenaar.Kort verslag van Paul Gauguins eerste verblijf op Tahiti. Zijn aantekeningen zeggen in eerste instantie meer over hem en het laatnegentiende eeuwse Europa waar hij uit komt dan over Tahiti zelf: hij is duidelijk op zoek naar een Lost Paradise (dat in zijn tijd al niet meer op Tahiti bestond) en beziet de inwoners consequent als ex-kannibalen en 'nobele wilden'. Voeg daarbij wat dubieuze opmerkingen over vrouwen (hij neemt zelf doodleuk een meisje van dertien als partner!) en je fronst meer over Gauguin zelf dan waar hij over schrijft. Gelukkig cijfert hij zichzelf gaandeweg meer weg ten gunste van Tahitiaanse mythen en legenden. Evenwel meer een curieus dan een leerzaam of leesbaar boek. De archaïsche taal (in ieder geval in deze vertaling) helpt ook niet mee.

  • Rebeca
    2019-03-06 13:58

    "However depressed I may be I am not in the habit of giving up a project without having tried everything, even the 'impossible', to gain my end." "The blue line of the sea was frequently broken by the green of the wave-crests falling on the breakwater of coral.""All the joys -- animal and human -- of a free life are mine. I have escaped everything that is artificial, conventional, customary. I am entering into the truth, into nature. Having the certitude of a succession of days like this present one, equally free and beautiful, peace descends on me. I develop normally and no longer occupy myself with useless vanities."Paul Gauguin

  • Beth
    2019-03-06 14:04

    This magnificent presentation by Jonathan Griffin of the illustrated journal of Paul Gauguin sets in context not only the startling work of the artist, but hints throughout its sensitive translation his soul-search for a life that made more sense than the drudgery which trapped him in the stolid realm of business. His business was the freedom his art brought him. He found what he was looking for in Noa Noa, that "fragrant land." The journal was first published in 1901, and virtually sings of Gauguin's newly discovered peace, of the driving passion of his paintings. The combination is both calm and potent, like the power of the sea holding hands with the wind.

  • Malbadeen
    2019-02-28 17:07

    i forgot about this book until i saw it in a bookstore today. I remember being in jr. high or high school and being so enamored with Gauguin and then finding out he had left his wife and 5 children to go live in Tahiti and i was so disappointed in him (i'm easily crushed- as i'm sure you can imagine the Britney Scandal has been very hard on me). I read this journal hoping ot find out what the heck he was thinking. I don't remember if i got any answers but i do remember thinking that Thati sounded awesome!

  • Fred Sampson
    2019-03-18 19:04

    Interesting in so much as it reveals Gauguin's romanticized image of Tahiti and its people, "Noa Noa" also shows how much Gauguin was taken by the Polynesian religion and mythology, which plays out in his later paintings and sculptures. Sidebar: I finished reading "Noa Noa" on Bastille Day; as Tahiti remains a French possession, Bastille Day is celebrated there. I was on Bora Bora for the feast in 1978, after the Tahiti race on the yacht "Sorcery."

  • Alexandra
    2019-03-21 17:52

    "Onze siësta houden wij die dag, evenals alle andere dagen, naakt naast elkaar uitgestrekt, dommelend of dromend. Misschien ziet Tehura in haar droom andere oorringen schitteren. En ik zou alles wat ik weet willen vergeten en altijd slapen..."Ooit komt een dag dat ik mij bevind in een vliegtuig of aan boord van een boot, naar Fiji, Paaseiland, of ergens anders waarvan ik het bestaan nu nog niet weet, en dan zullen Gauguins Tahiti en Büchs Niue met me meereizen.

  • Elsa
    2019-03-10 17:56

    Dated, sexist, racist and problematic for a modern reader - but also a beautifully written masterpiece of literature and a pleasure to read. The only part of this travelogue that I found dull was the transcripts of Tahitian religion, which were boring and apparently (according to the preface in my edition) not very reliable.

  • Anna P
    2019-03-24 17:51

    Curprinde in prima parte amintirile lui Gauguin dintr-o perioada de doi ani in care a trait in Tahiti iar in a doua fragmente din articolele publicate, interviurile sau corespondenta artistului.

  • James Payne
    2019-03-25 18:12

    This book is Gauguin complaining about how you can tell the French have colonized Tahiti while he is personally on a government mission, benefitting from government contacts, and sleeping with a 13 year-old Tahitian girl. It's curiously only tangentially about painting.

  • Crescentm
    2019-03-26 18:11

    This autobiography started off reasonably and actually gave a lot of setup for french polynesia. Towards the end it became disjointed from his life and began to weave tales about french polynesian myths which was an enjoyable read by itself but not in the context of his life.

  • XandriaCollins
    2019-03-05 16:49

    Actually good, even though I was forced to read it. Interesting to say the least and informative.