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 Press Release
In the Arms of Africa

". . . It is hard to imagine reading this exhaustively researched, richly anecdotal, and provocative biography without being continuously engaged and even sometimes moved."
George W. Stocking Jr.,
The New York Times Sunday Book Review

"In the Arms of Africa shows [Roy Richard Grinker] to be a patient, compassionate inrepreter of a complex and often puzzling life. . . . What Roy Grinker's book dramatizes is the degree to which there were many Turnbulls, even more than the two who appear through the pages of his most famous books. The temptation of biography is to enforce narrative unity on the aleatory movements of a human life; though this is a temptation to which Grinker occasionally succumbs, the overall effect of In the Arms of Africa is to reveal a man who confirms the juxtaposition of his two best-known books -- that each of us is as much a product of context as an underlying self.
Kwame Anthony Appiah,
The New York Review of Books

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Mark Mardon
Assistant Editor
Bay Area Reporter

"This finely tuned portrait perceptively recounts the rich and complex life of anthropologist Colin Turnbull, who was as much a seeker after spiritual truth as a man of science . . . In elegant, always accessible prose, Grinker details Turnbull's early life and his 1949 visit to India . . [This is] one of those rare scholarly biographies, unfettered by received wisdom and excessive documentation, that celebrates its subject as a fully realized character determined to lead an extraordinary life. A notable achievement"
Kirkus Reviews

"Colin Turnbull is one of the most fascinating figures in 20th century culture and in Richard Grinker he has found a biographer who is both unflinching and compassionate enough to capture his rich complexity. Moving with extraordinary grace from the intimate to the epic, Grinker tells a vivid love story that is also a gripping intellectual voyage. This is biography at its very best, unfolding a unique life while also illuminating the twisted relationship between the developed world and so-called primitive societies."
Fintan O'Toole
The New York Daily News

A sympathetic and deeply moving biography. . . the resulting memoir is a love letter, but a nuanced one. Turnbull comes across as brilliant, sensitive, and charismatic, yet often cruel and distant, a scholar passionately devoted to social justice yet blind to his own power . . . Unlike Grinker's earlier works, In the Arms of Africa is no scholarly treatise. Passionate and often erotic, it is a page turner, much like The Forest People itself.
Emily Nussbaum, Lingua Franca

"I love this book...a splendid biography, utterly honest and forthright, showing us what few want to admit-that anthropology is as much art as science, as much adventure as discipline."
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

"A fascinating and carefully balanced biography of a truly extraordinary man, at once a kind of secular saint and a genius, whose life and work did much to revolutionize anthropology and blend it with literature, and who was himself, above all, one of the kindest and most caring of men."
Michael Korda

Groundbreaking . . . superb biography . . . sheds much light on Turnbull's largely hidden private life.

Publishers Weekly

Turnbull's life was as controversial and rife with contradictions as his books, fellow anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker reveals in this absorbing biography. Grinker displays both discernment and critical sympathy in this gripping chronicle of a tumultuous life.

"No dusty tome, In the Arms of Africa has all the sweep and heartbreak of a David Lean epic."

"Colin Turnbull's life had an almost magical side to it. Whatever you think of him as a scholar -- some consider him brilliant, others overrated -- Turnbull was an original."
Tobias Schneebaum, Washington Post Book World.