About the book (from jacket flap):
A great Hindu country house in Bengal, a Burmese village on the Salween, a Chinese wine-shop in Hongkong, and the families living in all of them, their ideas and ways of living, are among the man subjects of this wide, revealing and entertaining book on the contemporary East. Among younger writers Austin Coates has probably unique experience of Asia and her people, among whom he has lived on several occasions – in his own words – “as a son of the house”, conforming entirely to their manner of life. He thus writes with particular sureness and authority, describing the social changes taking place in the East to-day, and the conflicts which every modern Asian feels between western social innovations and centuries-old eastern tradition.
Religion, arranged marriages, the gentle breaking down of India’s caste system, and many informative and amusing details of oriental domestic life are discussed with a quiet understanding and humour that makes this book not only easy general reading but an invaluable background to an appreciation of present-day Indian and Far Eastern problems.
Son of the distinguished composer Eric Coates, the author has received help and criticism in the book’s preparation from his wide circle of friends in the East. Photographs have been taken specially for it by the well-known Chinese photographer Francis Wu. The elephant designs on the cover have been provided by Jamini Roy, India’s most famous living artist.