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Empire of the East
by Norman Lewis
ISBN 0330334077 / 9780330334075 / 0-330-33407-7
Publisher Pan Macmillan
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Some of the adventures in Norman Lewis's book about Indonesia are unpremeditated. He goes to Aceh, North Sumatra, in the hope of describing its reserve of the richest fauna and flora in the world but runs into a separatist insurrection and he is deserted by his guide. East Timor is notoriously hard to enter, but Lewis travels there with his daughter, in a lull in the fighting, stays in a Catholic orphanage, and returns with an account of the life of the survivors. In Irian Jays he learns of the existence of Yali tribal communities living in stone-age culture little altered in 10,000 years. Lewis's Yali hosts, who are presumed to have tasted human flesh, are courteous and kindly. This book, above all, is an account of a race against time to see, enjoy and describe beautiful places while they are still there. [via]