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Throwim' Way Leg: Tree-Kangaroos, Possums, and Penis Gourds (1999)
by Tim Flannery
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802136656, Paperback)In Throwim Way Leg, Australia-based mammologist-raconteur Tim Flannery recalls scientific expeditions in the wilds of New Guinea that convey both the thrill of discovery and the negotiations necessary to bridge huge clashes of cultures. A world expert on New Guinea's fauna, Flannery has discovered 20 new species during his two decades of research. Yet his ability to convey unalloyed adventure in his taletelling makes these scientific expeditions read more like hair-raising, funky Redmond O'Hanlon-style travels than disciplined, scholarly field trips. Energy and danger run high.
Terrific thunderstorms and aircraft mishaps rattle Flannery during his travels. Yet the most memorable quality of Throwim Way Leg is Flannery's incorporation of humans into the natural world he writes about, often contrasting the jungled New Guinea denizens with stark modern technologies. He writes rich profiles of those he has met, and his images are memorable and meaningful: crowds of people gaping at a single television set; the remote landscape of Mt. Albert Edward dotted with cattle, Swiss chalets, and the smoky fires of the Goilala people; the malnourished Yapsiei greeting him reeking of the "sweet, sickly smell" of grile, a form of ringworm.
Ultimately, Flannery looks ahead and sees that the age of discovery is not at all complete in New Guinea, as so much remains unknown. But, in an often-told tale, modern political forces are at work, reshaping those unique natural and cultural environments that Throwim Way Leg explores with such vigor. --Byron Ricks
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:46:12 -0500)
Tim Flannery is a scientist of international standing, a world expert on the fauna of New Guinea with twenty new species and seven books to his credit. In Throwim Way Leg, he takes us into the field and on an unforgettable journey into the heart of this mysterious and uncharted country. Flannery's scientific voyage leads him to places he never dreamed of: he camps among cannibals and befriends Femsep, a legendary warrior who led the slaughter of colonial whites decades before. He enters caves full of skeletons of long-extinct giant marsupials, scales mountains previously untouched by Europeans, and is nearly killed when tribespeople decide to take revenge for their prior mistreatment by his "clan" (wildlife scientists). And Flannery writes movingly of the fate of indigenous people in collision with the high-tech world of late-twentieth-century industry. In New Guinea pidgin, throwim way leg means to thrust out your leg on the first step of a long journey. Full of adventure, wit, and natural wonders, Flannery's narrative is just such a spectacular trip.
An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.
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