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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heights of discovery, 11 Aug 2005
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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If Tim Flannery isn't the luckiest biologist in the world, then perhaps he's the hardest working. He possesses a spirit of adventure that may exceed both. His twenty years of exploring the mysteries of New Guinea are superbly outlined and related in this engaging account. Although a mammalogist by profession, his interests range far beyond any academic discipline. We follow his efforts to meet and gain acceptance by the remote peoples of the New Guinea highlands. They are a diverse lot, and every new contact is fraught with uncertainty. He introduces us to the teasing pleasures of New Guinea pidgin, a language adopted by indigineous peoples to cross the nearly 1 000 languages that exist on the island.
Throwim' Away Leg, New Guinean pidgin for a journey, is an appropriate title for this book. Flannery's 15 long-term expeditions took him over most of the island, meeting the people, tracking animals and assessing the changes in the ecology. It is difficult, in this jet travel age to comprehend the impact of "remote people," but Flannery has done it. He's adept at sharing the wonder he felt in his travels. We feel his fears, his joys of discovery, his sadness at the incursion of industrial civilization in an unprepared land. Flannery's account is given with an astonishing detachment. He recognizes the needs of both the indigenous people and the invaders. Cannibalism, so abhorrent to "civilized" readers, is placed in its true framework as viewed by the New Guinean mountain peoples. He's aware of the population pressures on local resources among the tribes, not excusing, but imparting rare understanding of the reality of life in wilderness.
The author's love of wildlife is made clear throughout the book. An encounter with three-metre-long python that tried desperately to throttle him is related with incredible compassion. One can only sympathize with the pilot and passengers who shared the cockpit of a small aircraft with it on its journey to Port Moresby. Flannery's real feelings, however, are for the varieties of tree kangaroos living on the island. He asserts the high point of his travels was the classification of a rare black and white species of this creature. High point, indeed! Three
thousand metres up in the New Guinean highlands, local hunters brought him the chewed remains of two "Dingisios" - enough to identify and describe this rare animal.
Flannery's enthusiasms and vivid desriptive powers make this book an unforgettable read. His descriptions of the impact of outsiders, from both East and West, portray a land under immense stress. Not only Western mining and lumber companies, who have seared the landscape with roads, mines and felling, but Indonesia's settlement programmes come under his penetrating gaze. He recognizes their needs, but urges better forms of accomodation are required. The biological story is conveyed well integrated with social, political and environmental issues. An all-encompassing study, this book will give the reader many fresh insights and topics for further reflection. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, 10 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Itęs well written, and describes less visited areas of Papua (Irian Jaya) and P.N.G.. Specially the area around Tembagapura, Bewani and Torricelli Mountain Range. Itęs a fascinating account of newly discovered tree-kangaroos and other mammals. I would prefer a more detailed look at the tribal life, but the mission of the author was to collect animals. Itęs also a good description of the difference between the two New Guinea countrys.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 July 2014
By 
Sally (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Throwim Way Leg: An Adventure (Paperback)
fascinating travelogue of PNG, a real insight into pastimes and disappearing cultures
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magical and intriguing., 25 Jun 2014
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This biologist's account is one of the most absorbing books I have recently read. I'm very fickle when it comes to reading and often don't finish books; this is not one of those. A very well written account of the author's expeditions to Papua New Guinea which brought the place to life in my mind. I thoroughly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Mix of Subject Matter, 2 Jun 2014
By 
Nico (Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Throwim Way Leg: An Adventure (Paperback)
Very enjoyable book. Tim Flannery writes with great flair about the scientific expeditions and he has undertaken in New Guinea. This is much more than a science/zoology book however. Flannery's interests and observations on his expeditions extend well beyond the pure scientific. The author has a great intreat in the highland people, their trafitional way of life and the impacts and pressures upon it. An absolute must read for anyone interested interested in New Guinea,
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Throwim Way Leg: An Adventure
Throwim Way Leg: An Adventure by Tim Flannery (Paperback - 3 May 2007)
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