Travelling through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the twilight of the French colonial regime, Norman Lewis witnesses these ancient civilisations as they were before the terrible devastation of the Vietnam War. He creates a portrait of traditional societies struggling to retain their integrity in the embrace of the West. He meets emperors and slaves, brutal plantation owners and sympathetic French officers trapped by the economic imperatives of the colonial experiment. From tribal animists to Viet-Minh guerillas, he witnesses this heart-breaking struggle over and over, leaving a vital portrait of a society on the brink of catastrophic change.
'An absorbing and heartaching glimpse of lands, peoples and customs which have gone forever' Manchester Evening News
'The main qualities of Lewis's writing are simplicity, clarity, curiosity, confidence, humanity, humour and courage. It is an enviable list' Sunday Times
'Mr Lewis can make even a lorry interesting' The Sunday Times