About the book:
A travelogue by a well-known anthropologist and a good friend of George Orwell, recounting his trip throughout Indonesia and to Siam and Cambodia. A very interesting book with many photographs, including of Minangkabau houses, the Borobudur, and Buddhist statues in Bangkok. Covers art, architecture, agriculture, music, etc.
“The comparison between Balinese music and the works of J. S. Bach is inescapable; in orchestral colour it is nearer the later works of Debussy, who is said to have been strongly influenced by the far-eastern music he had heard at some colonial exhibition.”
“The object of the greatest single interest in Java is the ruined Buddhist stupa, or memorial shrine, the Borobudur. People even claim that it is the finest of all Indian buildings.”
“About the beginning of the Christian era there was a kingdom called Founan, which occupied the countries called to-day Malay, Siam, Cambodia, and Cochin-China. The religion of this kingdom was a mixture of Buddhism and Hinduism. About A. D. 400 a Brahmin family from India obtained kingship; Cambodia was one of the provinces, administered during his father’s life-time by the heir apparent.”
About Gorer (from Wikipedia):
Geoffrey Gorer (1905–1985), was an English anthropologist and author, noted for his application of psychoanalytic techniques to anthropology.
He was educated at Charterhouse and at Jesus College, Cambridge. During the 1930s he wrote unpublished fiction and drama. His first book was The Revolutionary Ideas of the Marquis de Sade (1934, revised 1953, 1964). He then published an account of a journey in Africa, Africa Dances (1935, new edns. 1945 : Penguin, 1949, 1962), and another cultural study Bali and Angkor, or, Looking at Life and Death (1936). Hot Strip Tease appeared in 1937 and Himalayan Village in 1938.
His admiration for George Orwell’s novel Burmese Days led him to contact Orwell in 1935. They remained good friends until Orwell’s death in 1950.
From 1939 he lived and worked in the United States. He wrote The Americans (1948), The People of Great Russia: A Psychological Study (1949, new edn. 1962), and worked with various official and semi-official organizations on studies in Soviet and other cultures. Modern types (1955) was his last book written in America.
From 1957 he again worked in England. Exploring English Character, based on a large survey he designed, appeared in 1955. Death, Grief, and Mourning in Contemporary Britain appeared in 1965. The Danger of Equality and other essays (1966) collected some recent papers. Sex and Marriage in England Today appeared in 1971.