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The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-Utan and the Bird of Paradise; A Narrative of Travel, With Studies of Man and Nature (Classic Reprint) Paperback – 24 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 556 pages
  • Publisher: Forgotten Books (24 Aug. 2012)
  • ASIN: B009CEXZMA
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 471,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"One of the great classics of travel literature. It is indeed good news that Oxford University Press has now made available a handsome new edition of the book . . . . Natural scientists and anthropologists, in addition to being entertained, will find a vast store of scientific facts, many of which can no longer be observed firsthand." --Science Books and Films --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Much as Charles Darwin's name is inextricably associated with the Galapagos, Alfred Russel Wallace's is deeply associated with Indonesia. A British biologist and explorer--and a contemporary of Darwin who developed his own theory of evolution in parallel--Wallace spent eight years in the region, covering 14,000 square miles in his expeditions, amassing an unparalleled collection of 125,000 specimens of local insects and animals, and becoming the first European to set foot in many of the exotic places in which he tarried to study.


Considered one of the 19th century's greatest scientific and travel books, this classic volume details his journeys and intellectual endeavors, from his friendships with the natives to his startlement at the strange creatures who lived there.


This replica of the 1890 tenth edition, complete with all the beautiful original line drawings and maps, will thrill students of natural history, armchair travelers, and anyone fascinated by the human urge to explore.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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First Sentence
IF we look at a globe or a map of the Eastern hemisphere, we shall perceive between Asia and Australia a number of large and small islands, forming a connected group distinct from those great masses of land, and having little connexion with either of them. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 15 July 2001
Format: Paperback
Although the author himself says he is no writer, he is patently wrong - this book is full of wonderful descriptive, poetic passages, which underline this charming man's love of nature and dedication to the truth of scientific study, as opposed to the accepted 'truths' of the day.
An interesting insight into the groundwork that helped to develop the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, it also compares the British and the Dutch methods of colonisation, and controversially comes out on the side of the Dutch - against all current (and our received) perceptions of the Dutch as ruthless, money-grubbing opportunists.
Wallace was also unusual in using geographic and geological features combined with population spreads (human & biological) to support the new theories of continental drift and a world older than the Biblical model.
I'm lost in adsmiration for the way he managed to survive depravation, lack of company, housing, support, money and produce the finest collection of birds and insects that the world had ever seen; make comparative studies of the linguistic traits of all the major tribes; keep a detailed diary of all his travels ... all this in a known area of cannibals and head-hunters with only 3 or 4 assistants and he the only white person for hundreds of miles. Compare this to other explorers like Richard Burton who needed an entourage of several hundred for all their 'essentials'.
This book is a very readable profile of an enignatic Victorian naturalist at a crucial period in scintific history - would that I could have met him!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ringouzel on 30 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
A chronicle of the travels of an under-rated Scientist/Explorer, Alfred Russel Wallace who did much to make the origin of species from his viewpoint and with discussions with Darwin, the great 'discovery' of the our time. A must read for all who have an interest in great travel exploits and all those who have an interest in natural history and evolution.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Alby on 30 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the most gorgeous and incredible book. Wallace is becoming more and more famous as the man who shares credit with Darwin for the theory of natural selection, although that might be a bit strong. Certainly, Darwin's ideas were more developed, and he seems to have appreciated the idea of natural selection and evolution a bit more than Wallace, who was something of a spiritualist. But never mind that.

Wallace should be more famous, but so should this entire part of the world. Wallace travelled through island South-East Asian, excepting a number of islands including the whole of the Philippines, in several trips in an effort to find new species of bird and animal. He stayed in Maluku. He stayed on the west of New Guinea. He spent a great deal of time in Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, and Timor. He collected innumerable specimens, and saw innumerable wonders. And in this book, with an illustrator, he logged and wrote about them all. Birds of paradise, Papuan tobacco pipes, the cuscus, Dayak rope bridges, Javanese mountains - it's all here.

That alone should be enough to entice any reader. What you will find is a compassionate, knowledgeable man, talking about beautiful islands, different groups of people, and colonialism, as well as flora and fauna, and hopefully your appreciation for the diversity and beauty of these islands should increase. I actually don't know how to sum up the book, not really. It's rather large, and brilliantly written. It's wonderful to sit and read with a cup of tea. And it has the capacity to make you want to book a ticket to Jakarta, so you can travel about just as he did.

Anyway, a note on this edition: the paper is of fantastic quality, and the bindings are great. The type and images are perfect.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Roiko on 13 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
After reading this book, this is definitely my favorite book about insular South-East Asia. A.R. Wallace traveled the Malay archipelago and the Malay peninsula in his naturalist quest of finding, hunting, catching and describing all species of mammals, birds, insects, seashells etc. Along the way he describes as well the ecology, geology, ethnology, sociology, (colonial) administration and the persons he meets. All these subjects are accounted for in minute detail. The best thing is that it's all written down clearly and it is very accessible. However, this book is celebrated most for the impulse it gave to the theory of evolution by means of natural selection, which is made famous by Wallace's time companion and fellow scientist Charles Darwin. There is debate about who had the main idea of the theory of evolution first, nonetheless, we can say that Wallace clearly contributed a great deal in synthesizing this paradigm. Above all, he already noted the distinction between the biogeographic realms of SE Asia and Australia. Let's not forget that this man was already thinking about something like plate tectonics, something only scientifically accepted in the 1960's. Next to his contributions to the evolutionary theory and biogeography, and put aside the little amount of Victorian 'zeitgeist', Wallace's views on ethnology and colonial administration gives a clear idea how it must have been to live and travel in this corner of the world from 1854 to 1862. Some (many) of his ideas still stand, others are strengthened by current science. One should really think about his words on the last pages. I think this book is a milestone in science but a very exciting and amusing travel book at the same time. It is great for understanding evolutionary theory and it's perfect to carry it along when traveling through Indonesia, especially when you get to the places where Wallace has been as well.

Roiko
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