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A good accompaniment to the series
on 21 December 2010
Lest Mr Bull should feel the burning need to comment on my review too, the end notes reveal that the book was actually ghost-written by Mark McCrum, who turned Parry's extensive notes into something coherent and seems to have consulted with Parry extensively throughout the writing process.
I pre-ordered this book in eager anticipation of the full stories of the tribes in glorious depth and thick detail, my appetite whetted by the excellent television series which I followed on tv from episode one of series one. However, having read it, it becomes abundantly clear that this book is an accessory and accompaniment to the series, not a detailed stand alone from which the series derived. It covers the main events of the episodes, but not in as much detail as the programmes, and omits mention of a couple of occurrences altogether. On the other hand, the book reveals much more about how the programmes were arranged and prepared, what went on behind the scenes, and his own personal opinion about issues which he was unable to provide on the series for the sake of providing an objective view. I do however wish that each chapter had been longer and Parry had explored the difficult issues in greater depth. In its favour, the book is chock full of glossy glorious photos of the exotic peoples and locations. There are also one or two surprises about the people Parry encounters that are most definitely not included in the television show!
You couldn't really classify the book as great literature, but then that's not the purpose of the book. Rather, its purpose is to provide us with a pacy, behind-the-scenes series of anecdotes about the television programme and insights that Parry gained from making the show, complete with lavish photography throughout. A great gift for fans of the series, but won't make much sense if you haven't seen the tv programme.