What Burnet achieves in his wonderfully illustrated and narrated book is to relate the important role the Indonesian archipelago has played in the intellectual history of the West. In their seperate voyages Banks, Darwin and Wallace discovered the astounding diversity of the southern hemisphere’s natural world, and it was through their observations that the enlightenment truly came of age. Western thought found it could not reconcile the static divine word of the Bible with the diverse and ever-evolving scientific reality of the natural world.
… Ian Burnet’s very perceptive use of quotes from their public writings and private diaries allow us to see through their eyes the world they found and understand the intellectual problems it raised for them. Moreover in the case of Darwin and Wallace, we enter into their very troubled worlds as they tried to explain the diversity of life they found.
… Like the geology of the earth we live on, and like British society that founded modern Australia this wonderfully enlightening and delightful book is many layered
— The Indonesia Institute, Dr. Ron Witton