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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

July 18, 1993|CHRIS GOODRICH

LOST WORLDS: Exploring the Earth's Remote Places by David Yeadon (HarperCollins: $27.50; 409 pp.). Skip the sentimental, faux-philosophical introduction to this book--David Yeadon is an adventurer, not an essayist, and in "Lost Worlds" he delivers the adventures in spades. No, he isn't courting death or going native: Yeadon's simply traveling to odd, faraway places and telling us what he sees, his experiences immeasurably aided by an ability to make friends at the drop of a hat. Most of Yeadon's previous travel books have dealt with the U.S. and Europe, but on reading "Lost Worlds" one can't help feeling he was born for more exotic fare: He seems to have few concerns about spending the night in Zaire's Ituri forest with Pygmies met along the roadside, sailing hundreds of miles along Chile's iceberg-dotted coast with a complete stranger or spending a few Crusoe-like days on an undeveloped Caribbean island. Yeadon, as a writer, can get melodramatic, but fortunately he goes to so many places in the course of this book--nine in total, among them the plains of Venezuela, the Bungle Bungle of Northwest Australia and the coastal wilds of southwest Tasmania--he rarely has time to wax romantic. Like a considerable percentage of the best travel writers, Yeadon is English, but unlike many of his countrymen he never patronizes the people he encounters, and is usually more interested in experiencing others' lives than in producing a literary effect. This literary travel book has the emphasis on the travel, and that's a nice change.

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