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on 10 March 2017
I found this book incredibly hard to put down. The best book about being a biologist I have ever read, and one of the best books about travel I've ever read. Reads like a modern day version of Wallace's Malay Archipelago or Darwins Voyage of the Beagle. Incredibly informative about Papua New Guineas tribes, wildlife, natural history, politics and culture, and plenty of personal stories and anecdotes that you'll never forget. A true adventure - it's thrilling hearing about Flannery's new species discoveries, friendships and skirmishes with indigenous locals and battles with life threatening illnesses. Highly recommended
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on 13 May 2017
I liked this book and found it very interesting reading. But I just felt that it didn't go into detail far enough.
Everything seemed as if it was skimmed over.
We arrived, we got wet and dirty, we left! Not enough substance.
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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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on 10 October 2000
It«s 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. It«s 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. It«s also a good description of the difference between the two New Guinea countrys.
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3.5 stars

Throwim Way Leg is the fifth book by Australian mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist, global warming activist and author, Tim Flannery. It describes his many expeditions into Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya in quest of various wildlife species. As well as detailing what is involved in tracking down, sighting and examining his quarry, Flannery comments on the huge challenge faced by those involved with environmental conservation in an undeveloped country such as this.

While the myriad of species which get a mention may fascinate (or may make the eyes glaze over), Flannery’s tales of his encounters with the locals are interesting, frequently curious and quite often hilarious. Nor is he averse to relating anecdotes that paint him in a less-than-favourable light: the laugh is often on Tim! Accounts of (mis)adventures with pythons and possums, rats and bats, giardia and entamoeba, malaria and altitude sickness, tree kangaroos and a tropical glacier, an angry villager and a tapeworm snacker, all provide diversion and entertainment.

Flannery includes a wealth of information about the fauna of New Guinea, about the people and about plundering of natural resources: the last chapter is a sober commentary on the unrest fomenting between the Kamoro (lowlanders) and Amungme (highlanders), PT Freeport Indonesia and the Indonesian military at the time. This is an interesting and thought-provoking read.
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on 2 June 2014
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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on 7 September 2014
Having lived and worked in Papua New Guinea for some thirty-five years I was delighted to hear of this book and it has been a most enjoyable read. Tim Flannery is of course well known in PNG and his detailed description of his experiences in some of the most distant parts of the country are excellent reading.
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on 10 January 2017
Having worked as a biologist in the Sepik River area of PNG slightly before Flannery( although never having had the opportunity to meet him) I can relate directly to his difficulties and adventures. Having said that, I can also recommend the book to any newly graduated biologists who have the drive to work in the field.On a deeper note, his concerns about our ability to change isolated societies, in one case merely by sharpening the village knives, highlights how we destroy what we observe and that the traditional tribes of PNG are neither alive nor dead. Long live Schrodinger's cat !.
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on 27 November 2014
Why does Papua New Guinea intrigue me so much? Island cultures are always interesting. This book is easy to read, relatively speaking contemporary, and says enough to get you wanting to know more. I'm an amateur naturalist so I enjoyed it on that front, but it is interesting on other fronts too. Flannery has ecological and political points to make while not having a particular axe to grind. Well worth the money spent.
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on 25 June 2014
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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