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Finding Eden: A Journey into the Heart of Borneo

Finding Eden: A Journey into the Heart of Borneo
Robin Hanbury-Tenison

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"Sometimes it feels as though the whole planet has been so polluted and ravaged that there are no Edens left, but they are there to be found by those who step off the beaten track... So it was with mine."

Fifty years ago the interior of Borneo was a pristine, virgin rainforest inhabited by uncontacted indigenous tribes and naive, virtually tame, wildlife. It was into this `Garden of Eden' that Robin Hanbury-Tenison led one of the largest ever Royal Geographical Society expeditions, an extraordinary undertaking which triggered the global rainforest movement and illuminated, for the first time, how vital rainforests are to our planet. For 15 months, Hanbury-Tenison and a team of some of the greatest scientists in the world immersed themselves in a place and a way of life that is on the cusp of extinction. Much of what was once a wildlife paradise is now a monocultural desert, devastated by logging and the forced settlement of nomadic tribes, where traditional ways of life and unimaginably rich and diverse species are slowly being driven to extinction. This is a story for our time, one that reminds us of the fragility of our planet and of the urgent need to preserve the last untamed places of the world.

Author Info

Robin Hanbury-Tenison, OBE, DL, is the doyen of British explorers. A Founder and President of Survival International, the world's leading organisation supporting tribal peoples, he was one of the first people to bring the plight of the rainforests to the world's attention. He has been a Gold Medallist of the Royal Geographical Society, winner of the Pio Manzu Award, an International Fellow of the Explorers Club, Winston Churchill Memorial Fellow, Trustee of the Ecological Foundation and Fellow of the Linnean Society. Among his many publications are: 'A Question of Survival', 'A Pattern of Peoples', 'The Yanomami', 'Fragile Eden', 'The Oxford Book of Exploration', 'Mulu: The Rain Forest' and his two autobiographies, 'Worlds Apart' and 'Worlds Within', as well as a successful quartet of books about the other long distance rides he and Louella have made across France, China, New Zealand and Spain.


“Robin Hanbury-Tenison is champion of indigenous populations everywhere. This is an inspiring book, an evocative, enchanting account of his life among the nomadic Penan tribe of Borneo and how he changed our attitudes towards such tribal peoples for ever." - Redmond O’Hanlon, author of Into the Heart of Borneo and Congo Journey
"Throughout the traditional homeland of the Penan, one of the most extraordinary nomadic cultures in the world, the sago and rattan, the palms, lianas, and fruit trees lie crushed on the forest floor. The hornbill has fled with the pheasants, and as the trees continue to fall, a unique way of life, morally inspired, inherently right, and effortlessly pursued for centuries, has been assaulted in a single generation. In this elegant memoire Robin Hanbury-Tenison reveals the world of the Penan for he was there as a naturalist and explorer long before industrial logging ravaged the forests of Sarawak. It is at once an elegy and a testimony to the folly of greed, and a reminder of just what is at stake in the struggle to protect the remaining tropical rainforests of the world.."  - Wade Davis, Explorer in Residence, National Geographic
"...a fascinating book.  You will see what a beautiful, magical and scientifically outstanding place Mulu is.  And you will see how much was achieved by the scientists of the Royal Geographical Society’s expedition.  It led directly to the designation of this unique habitat and ecosystem as a protected reserve and World Heritage Site." - John Hemming, author of Tree of Rivers: The Story of the Amazon

“The vivid pictures [Robin Hanbury Tenison] paints of a world that has almost disappeared leave a deep sense of melancholy, albeit one tinged with faint optimism that, maybe, just maybe, this unique landscape could still be saved…” - Geographical

Finding Eden is a fount of marvels, wisdom and replicable successes. [It] is a record of a pristine world at the moment of its discovery, a loving portrait of a people and a place, a superb primer on leadership, and a call to arms, demanding that we relish and protect what is left of the wild world. I absolutely recommend it.” - Horatio Clare, Spectator

“My star read of the year – an unlikely one perhaps – is Finding Eden by Robin Hanbury-Tenison. Borneo, somewhat hackneyed these days as travel terrain, is made fresh here not least because the author recounts an expedition-cum-exploration he made 40 years ago. We follow him into a lush and gothic darkness. The dangers are real, but paradoxically it’s the bond of trust and affection he forms with his guide that comes to express the special spirit of the forest, and the spell its casts upon writer and reader alike.” - Tom Adair, Scotsman Book of the Year

‘...a truly eye-opening tale of exploration and conservation.’ - Wanderlust

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781784538392
Publication Date: 29 Aug 2017
Number of Pages: 240
Height: 216
Width: 135
Illustrations: 30 black and white integrated illustrations

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