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The Proving Grounds by Benedict Allen

The Proving Grounds by Benedict Allen

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The Proving Grounds

A Journey Through the Interior of New Guinea and Australia

by Benedict Allen

HarperCollins, 1991, [First Edition], ISBN 0246136332, decorated endpapers, colour photographic plates, hardcover, dustjacket

Very Good Condition, minor edge and shelf wear, minor rubbing and bumping to edges and corners, no inscriptions, dustjacket shows minor edge and shelf wear with minor rubbing and bumping to edges and corners (see photographs)

“The author finds himself drawn back to a village in Papua New Guinea, where once he had undergone an initiation ceremony to make him ‘a man as strong as a crocodile’.  The village mysteriously binds him into the forest community – by day he is beset by clan ‘brothers’, by night by his two allocated ladies, ‘Stars on the Water’ and ‘Nightlight’.  Here men have traditionally had to prove themselves on headhunting expeditions; now the elders launch him on a journey where he can put the lessons of his initiation into practice.
This eight-month quest (sometimes humorous, frequently dangerous) takes him in and out of relationships with nomads, goldminers and missionaries, across the central mountain range of remotest New Guinea to the living magic of the ‘uncontacted’ Yaifo people, over the treacherous Torres Strait by flimsy canoe to Australia, and into the red sands of the Gibson Desert.  Here the Aboriginals have settled around a perpetual drinking hole, and the newly arrived whitefella finds his way through the violence and decay to become at last a ‘man of true men’.”


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