Explorers of South-East Asia: Six Lives

Victor T. King (editor)

Oxford University Press 1995
A book review by Danny Yee © 1996 http://dannyreviews.com/
Explorers of South-East Asia is a collection of lives of six European explorers active in Southeast Asia during the mid-to-late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The explorers included had diverse backgrounds and motivations. The Frenchman Henri Mouhot, who explored areas of Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, and the Norwegian Carl Bock, who explored areas of Sumatra, Borneo and Thailand, were "amateur" explorers and naturalists. Robert Burns, who ventured into the interior of North-West Borneo seeking commercial openings and who was involved in a wrangle with James Brooke of Sarawak, was a mysterious character; little at all is known about his life (he may have been the grandson of the famous poet).

The other three explorers acted in more official capacities. A.W. Nieuwenhuis crossed Central Borneo and recorded valuable ethnographic information about the Dayaks. Francis Garnier was involved in the most dramatic feat of exploration covered, leading (with Doudart de Lagrée) a French expedition up the Mekong into China. J.G. Scott was a British official on the Burma frontier, whose career involved exploration of the Shan and Wa states.

All the lives have bibliographies, but some of these are considerably more substantial than others. They range from three and half pages on Burns (possibly comprehensive) to a very brief list of Nieuwenhuis' principal publications. Explorers of South-East Asia would be a good starting point for anyone interested in the subject, whether attracted by the history of exploration in general or through Southeast Asian studies.

January 1996

External links:
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
Related reviews:
- books about Southeast Asia + Southeast Asian history
- books about exploration
- books published by Oxford University Press
%T Explorers of South-East Asia
%S Six Lives
%E King, Victor T.
%I Oxford University Press
%D 1995
%O paperback
%G ISBN 9676530778
%P xx,280pp