New Releases

Orchid Press Publishing has a wide collection of well illustrated books, appealing to both the layman and the scholar, and written by specialists. New releases are available in the libraries below.

Individual Titles Orchid Books Central Asian Studies
Bibliotheca Asiatica Bibliotheca Himalayica Asian Portraits



Sierra Leone:
Inside the War: History and Narratives
by James Higbie and Bernard S. Moigula
2017, x, 310 pp., 110 b & w photos, 9 maps, 24 x 17 cm., softcover.

ISBN-13: 978-974-524-198-5 $22.95
E-book edition $5.99

In 1991 a brutal civil war broke out in Sierra Leone, a small country on the west coast of Africa. Masterminded by Muammar Qaddafi of Libya and Charles Taylor of Liberia, the war engulfed the poverty and corruption-ridden country for ten years. Notorious for “blood diamonds” and amputations, the war saw child soldiers murdering and mutilating civilians, and young people abducted to be fighters and sex slaves.
   Sierra Leone: Inside the War includes a detailed history of the civil war and narratives from over thirty Sierra Leoneans who witnessed or took part in the fighting, including child soldiers. Through the historical facts and the narrators’ words, readers can gain a comprehensive understanding of the politics of the war, the motivations of the fighters, and the feelings and thoughts of people caught up in the tragic violence that swept through the country.
The Spell of China
by Archie Bell
2018, 246 pp., i-xiv, 52 b&w photos, 1 map, bibliography, index, 23 x 15 cm., softcover.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-208-1 $21.95

The year is 1917. The self-proclaimed Emperor of China, Yuan Shikai, died the previous year and Sun Yat-sen returns from exile to form a new Nationalist government. China declares war with Germany, in support of the Western efforts in Europe—but China itself is on the brink of descending into feuding factions, and eventually its own civil war. For the moment, though, all is calm, and life goes on in the Middle Kingdom much as it has for thousands of years.
   Tourists must first travel by steamer to British Hong Kong—a journey of some two weeks from North America and up to a month from London. China has yet to establish its first tourism agency, so the intrepid visitor must rely books such as this to make his or her way around.
   And what a trip Bell takes us on! From Hong Kong to Canton, Macau, Shanghai, Hangzhou and on to Peking where we tour the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. And further to Korea, the Hermit Kingdom, then under Japanese rule. The Spell of China is truly a trip back in time; a spellbinding journey for the modern tourist, amateur historian and armchair traveller alike.
The Spell of Japan
by Isabel Anderson
2018, 260 pp., i-xvi, 54 b&w photos, 1 map, bibliography, index, 23 x 15 cm., softcover.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-206-7 $21.95

The year is 1914. A distinguished couple had arrived overland two years previously from Europe via Russia and Korea to Yokohama and on to Tokyo. The gentleman, Mr. Larz Anderson, assumes the role of American ambassador to Japan. His wife, Isabel—a glamourous, Boston-born heiress—submerges herself in the rich, yet little known culture of Imperial Japan.
   With ready access to Japanese high society, Isabel bears first-hand witness to court custom, art, costume and ritual as few Western visitors have before. Yet her lack of pretension and keen observation allows her to describe the life of the common people of old Japan in just as lucid prose.
   The Spell of Japan takes the us through Japanese-occupied Korea, to the gilded temples of Kyoto and the splendours of the Imperial court of Tokyo. An illuminating journey for the modern tourist, the armchair traveller and amateur historian alike.
Trans-Himalayan Traders:
Economy, Society and Culture in Northwest Nepal
by James F. Fisher
2017, 242 pp., 19 b&w photos, 10 figures, 5 maps, appendices, endnotes, bibliography, index, 23 x 15 cm., softcover.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-201-2 $25.00

On an isolated Himalayan hillside in northwest Nepal, the village that was the subject of this groundbreaking study in the late ‘60s—at the time two weeks’ walk from the nearest commercial transportation—was as culturally complex as it was remote. While the villagers were largely self-sufficient, it was the ways in which they still depended on outside forces that anthropologist Fisher analyses compellingly in this work.
   Republished almost 50 years after the original fieldwork to coincide with the publication of a recent follow-up investigation by Fisher (Trans-Himalayan Traders Transformed), the two volumes provide a fascinating and significant view of the evolution of this once remote culture.
(Reprint; originally published by University of California Press, 1987)

   “…well researched, well analysed and equally well-written ethnography. The author’s style is insightfull and easy-going, with a certain wit and frankness… exceptionally good..”. Donald A. Messerschmidt, Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 6, No. 4.
Trans-Himalayan Traders Transformed:
Return to Tarang
by James F. Fisher
2017, 258 pp., 29 b&w photos, 2 figures, 4 maps, endnotes, bibliography, index, 23 x 15 cm., softcover.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-202-9 $25.00

Returning to Tarang, a remote village in northwestern Nepal, 44 years after conducting his groundbreaking study there, anthropologist Fisher explores the ways in which modernization and mobility have transformed the livelihood and culture of these once isolated people. Through individual life histories he constructs and analyses the economic and cultural impacts that political, environmental and commercial revolutions in Nepalese society at large have had on the people of Tarang, both transforming their lives and also consolidating and elaborating centuries old societal patterns.
   Together with Fisher’s original study (Trans-Himalayan Traders), recently republished, this volume will be of interest to social scientists and others focused on the changing South and Central Asian worlds.



cover image
Wanderings of a Naturalist in India,
the Western Himalayas and Cashmere
by Andrew Leith Adams, MD
Second imprint 2018 (first edition 1867). 223 pp., i-x, 1 ill., index, 22 x 15 cm., softbound
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-113-8 $21.95

India is home to one of the richest and most diverse populations of wildlife of any territory on earth, including lions, multiple species of tigers and leopards, many species of deer, the Indian elephant, the rhinoceros and a great multitude of reptiles and birds. At the beginning of the British Raj (1858) Indian wildlife populations were largely intact—some estimate that there were up to 100,000 tigers in the territory alone.
   The following 100 years, however, saw this rich heritage greatly depleted. A swelling native population combined with the British colonial passion for big game hunting wreaked havoc on all Indian wildlife. By the mid 20th century the tiger population was reduced to less than 2,000 animals and a number of other important species had been driven to extinction. Indian and international efforts in the past several decades have attempted to arrest, if not reverse the damage and at present India hosts some 515 wildlife sanctuaries and 18 biosphere reserves.
   The present volume, aside from providing a fascinating historical travalogue, presents a sampling of what Indian wildlife consisted of in the mid 19th century, prior to the devastation that was to follow. As such it is a fascinating read for all with interest in the ecology and history of the Subcontinent.


Religions of the Hindukush
by Karl Jettmar
2018, 525 pp., 12 b&w plates, 24 line drawings and sketches, 3 maps, 23 x 15 cm., softcover.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-218-0 $65.00

The traditional religion and rituals of the remote tribal groups along the borderlands of eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, with their complex cosmology of gods and demons, preserved elements from archaic Indo-Aryan, and possibly even pre-Vedic, beliefs.
   While the peoples of this region were converted to Islam by the turn of the 20th century, the deeply conservative nature and geographical isolation of these tribes have combined to preserve ancient folk religious practices long extinct elsewhere in Central and South Asia.
   The author, a renowned Austrian anthropologist, integrates the diverse scholarly findings of colleagues in the fields of linguistics, cultural history and archaeology, with his own field investigations to construct an authoritative, yet highly readable account of the religious practices of this remote and little understood corner of Asia.
   A groundbreaking and indispensable reference both for the general student of Asian religions and for those with special focus on the tribal cultures and customs of eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province.


Dutch Mandarin:
The Life and Work of Robert Hans van Gulik
by C. D. Barkman & H. de Vries-van der Hoeven
2018, 362 pp., 31 b&w photos, 14 b&w line drawings & figures, 23 x 15 cm, softbound.
ISBN-13: 978-974-524-200-5 $29.95

Diplomat, Asian scholar, author, polyglot, polymath, passionate lover of life in all its forms, Robert van Gulik researched and wrote prolifically on a wide range of Asian subects, such as Chinese scroll mounting, sexual life in China and the Chinese lute—an instrument that he was also mastered as a musician. In addition to his more esoteric writings, van Gulik achieved wide popular fame as the author of a series of mystery novels based on the life of semi-fictional Judge Dee in ancient China.
   Two former colleagues and close acquaintances of van Gulik have combined their own experiences with recollections of family and other contemporaries, as well as detailed entries in the diaries of the man himself to provide us with an entertaining and highly readable portrait of a remarkable life.
   A must-read for the Asian specialist as well as van Gulik’s many admirers among the general public.