ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Economist s Diaries

THE diary, ever since the pioneering days of John Evelyn and Samuel Pepys down to Dick Crossman and Evelyn Waugh in contemporary times, has always been an intriguing art form. It is essentially a minority taste. The silent majority perhaps thinks like Richard Cobb, Emeritus Professor of Modern History, Oxford (The Spectator, June 11, 1987, p 7, "I have never kept a diary. I would not know what to put in it... Why keep a diary?''). Cobb will find an answer in this fascinating collection by a distinguished fellow Oxonian and Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Australian National University. "These diaries [a selection] are... of an academic, an observer intended to convey some of the never failing stimulus and pleasure that I have derived from two decades of travel [1958-1976] in Asian countries [Afghanistan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Malaysia, South Vietnam, Soviet Central Asia, and Taiwan] and contact with Asian people" (Preface). They "are printed... as they were written day by day, edited only to delete...the possibly hurtful comment, and to give (in parenthesis or footnotes) the necessary background information". The diaries have a useful glossary and index of names and are well illustrated by Hedda Morrison's photographs and some by the author himself," including a charming frontispiece painting of the Rangoon river ferry.

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