The Most Offending Soul Alive: Tom Harrisson and His Remarkable Life

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9780824821999: The Most Offending Soul Alive: Tom Harrisson and His Remarkable Life

An English eccentric and adventurer, Tom Harrisson (1911-1976) sought knowledge and renown in a dizzying number of fields, while breaking most of the rules of civilized society. He was a precursor in the field of modern market research; he won the DSO for his World War II service in Borneo; he led efforts to save the orangutan, the green sea turtle, and other endangered species; he discovered the oldest modern human skull known at the time. This hugely enjoyable story of Harrisson's extravagant, controversial life offers a sympathetic and insightful look at a charismatic figure who offended as many people as he impressed at the twilight of colonialism on the fringes of the British empire.

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From the Back Cover:

"Explorer, museum curator, guerilla fighter, pioneer sociologist, documentary filmmaker, anthropologist-Tom Harrisson was all these things. He was also arrogant, choleric, swashbuckling, often drunk and nearly always deliberately outrageous. In spite of these contradictions, he became a key figure in every enterprise he undertook. Judith Heimann describes how he did so. A brilliant and insightful biography."

-David Attenborough

"Judith Heimann has taken on the challenge of exploring the many lives of Tom Harrisson and has come up with an unusual and richly textured biography. Like Heimann, I met Harrisson many years ago in Borneo, and there he is in these pages, in his full controversial glory, digging into ethnology, ornithology, anthropology. Harrisson once asked whether before he died he could achieve 'that youthful promise of semi-genius.' Heimann checks it out in revealing detail; her findings add up to a roller-coaster story of an unconventional man who embraced the natural world with the enthusiasm of an Alfred Russel Wallace."

-Bernard Kalb

An English eccentric and adventurer, Tom Harrisson (1911-1976) sought knowledge and renown in a dizzying number of fields, while breaking most of the rules of civilized society. He was a precursor in the field of modern market research; he won the DSO for his World War II service in Borneo; he led efforts to save the orangutan, the green sea turtle, and other endangered species; he discovered the oldest modern human skull known at the time. This hugely enjoyable story of Harrisson's extravagant, controversial life offers a sympathetic and insightful look at a charismatic figure who offended as many people as he impressed at the twilight of colonialism on the fringes of the British empire.

Judith M. Heimann has spent much of her life in Western Europe and Southeast Asia, as a diplomat's wife and a diplomat herself. She first met Tom Harrisson while living in Borneo. Heimann spent a decade researching Harrisson's life, sifting through countless stories and rumors and traveling to four continents in the process.

About the Author:

Judith Heimann knew Tom Harrisson well. She works for the US State Department in Washington DC.

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Judith M. Heimann
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