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It's OK, but nothing like as good as the TV show
on 13 November 2009
Firstly, Bruce Parry is clearly utterly fearless. He goes off round the world, staying with people who are still living very traditional lifestyles. He doesn't speak the language or understand the customs, but soon he fits in and always ends up making friends. I think testament to him and also to the people he stays with. And each episode of the TV show was fascinating.
Fascinating to see the places where people still live like they have for millennia - jungles, deserts, arctic wildernesses. And how they live. And you got a real sense of that through the TV show. Yes, of course it's a bit artificial - there's a TV crew there, how could it not be? - but I think you did get a sense of how these people live.
In the book the pressures of space deny you the insights in all bar one or two cases. Some are rushed, and the need for a story (instead of just watching the ebb and flow of their lives) turns a few into "turned up, moved in with this guy, did this and he's an amazing friend". Others are given room to breathe, but on the whole this is (at very best) a middling companion to what was a fantastic programme.