Seeking a place ``where winter was a fairy tale,'' Schwartz, a young Yale Law School graduate, set off in 1976 and for six years wandered in remote areas of Africa and Asia. Touring as cheaply as possible, visiting villages rather than cities and towns, he sought out what was beyond reach, unexpected or not permitted. Highlights of Schwartz's discursive, unadorned narrative include a visit with the Mbuti, pygmies of the Congolese forest; unauthorized journeys to places in China where foreigners are never seen; and adventures in Tibet, where he hitchhiked from, over dangerous passes. Experiences of a different nature were Schwartz's imprisonment in Uganda and Guinea and service with relief organizations among starving Ugandan villagers. He traveled not to find himself, but to find his fellow humans, to learn other ways of lifeand in that he succeeded. Schwartz (China Off the Beaten Track is an adventurer who finds beauty and communality in even the poorest, most dismal surroundings. (May 26)
The commonly heard phrase that a writer has ``put a lot of himself into the book'' is especially apt for describing Schwartz's six-year journey through Africa and Asia. In that time Schwartz managed to get into the most obscure places imaginable andamazingly get out alive and intact. During much of his odyssey he had little or no money, so he slept on sand, floors, or in parking lots and ate whatever portion of the lo cal fare the nativeswhose languages he seldom understoodtossed his way. The most wonderful thing about the book is the innocence Schwartz pre serves despite the dangers. However the locals react to him, Schwartz makes the best of it and continues with his careful observations. He has written a really memorable book about them and himself. Laurence Hull, Stanly Cty. P.L., Albemarle, N.C.