by Eugene Linden

Viking, $26.95, 260 pages

The book is a sophisticated and absorbing travelogue, nourished with a wealth of knowledge, empathy, and understanding about indigenous people and their once-isolated corners of the world. We can enjoy Linden’s tales and analyses, only to be swathed in guilt for wanting to follow in his footsteps and see for ourselves. Come and look….No, no don’t, you’ll wreck the place!

He writes strongly, politically. His cautionary overtones and undertones add a unique dimension. However, let me get this off my chest: the book would have recruited more Eugene Linden fans if there were maps to show where he traveled, and if the essays were dated to say when. Example: Jane Goodall isn’t 57-years-old anymore, so his interview with her, albeit enlightening, took place well over fifteen years ago, not a few seasons back. And where are these places, anyhow? Have some sloughed off colonial names? But even if we’re tempted to confirm the good or evil he found in Africa, the Pacific, the cold or the hot spots on the globe, most are too remote or too volatile for an affordable 10-day package tour.

Jane Manaster