“The Northumbrian Kiap” has been given good reviews
Among the best received were those volunteered by former Kiaps through the Ex-Kiap website – which is a discussion channel for former Patrol Officers in Papua New Guinea and those who are interested in their activities (to read these – see the EX-KIAP NETWORK FORUM).
Comments by ex-Kiaps, who are well placed to identify exaggeration and inaccuracy, include the following:
“A book well-worth reading, not only for history buffs but for modern generations because it exposes the ambitions of PNG’s new power-hungry politicians.” – Phil Fitzpatrick – who also reviewed the book for PNG Attitude.
“I recommend this interesting book to all ex-Kiaps”. – Ves Karnups
“Your book has been a fascinating read and fills a gap in the Kiap story. Wish that I could write as well as you,” Barry Taverner (former Kiap – and work colleague at Bereina too.)
“This story is a ripping yarn and potential film script. It will find a place as a first-hand account of the modernising process of development field work. It fleshes out the modern history of PNG,” Greg Harris – director of the DVD ‘Kiap – the stories behind the medal’.
“An excellent read. I envy Robert his pre-Kiap volunteer experience, something that would have benefited all of us had we been so fortunate.” Bob Bamford, who trained with the author at ASOPA in 1971.
“I’m very much enjoying your book. I love the way that you’ve been able to equate your home village and its “tumbuna worship” with that of the people you lived with in PNG. I also love the obvious empathy that you have with Papua New Guineans.” Bob Bucknall, another ex-Kiap who trained with the author at ASOPA in 1971.
This website is the most influential of those that cover current developments within Papua New Guinea.
One of its principal reviewers, and a former Kiap himself, identified “The Northumbrian Kiap” as “an eloquent book which makes an important contribution to the history of Papua New Guinea and Kiaps in particular because it covers the end days of Australian colonialism, a subject that hasn’t had much attention before”. (To read click here.)
A second PNG Attitude review, this time by Papua New Guinean, Daniel Kumbon, who hails from Kandep was published on August 14th 2018. He said: “‘The Northumbrian Kiap’, is a fascinating and skilfully written book which clarifies many of the questions raised by the village people who lived and grew up at that time.
“I recommend it to anybody who cares about the history of pre-independence Papua New Guinea.” (To read click on the link here)
“A compelling story of the time when the Kiap was King.”
An international perspective was offered by OnlineBookClub in the United States view on August 23rd 2018.
The reviewer gave The Northumbrian Kiap a Four Star rating. It is the highest score OnlineBookClub offers.
“I see this book as a valuable documentation of the political and cultural conflict between the Europeans and Papua New Guineans in the early and mid-20th century.
Much of what is written may not be known to most Papua New Guineans and can serve as a great reference to their hidden history.
Politics, culture and murder are the themes mostly discussed in the book. Each of the themes has its own share of description in detail to make the readers feel as though they were right there in each village.
What I liked most is the in-depth exploration of the PNG’s cultural practices from the stone age, the iron age and even when the global economic pressure and technological innovation were being accommodated.
The book is a beautiful reflection of where the world has come from.
I recommend it to historians and documentarians as it contains information that may be of benefit to their research.
I won’t hesitate to give the book 4 out of 4 stars.
A Northumbrian view was posted by the Hexham Courant on July 12th 2018: Close encounters of the deadly kind | Hexham Courant
12 Jul 2018 – It’s a long way from the leafy lanes of Hexhamshire to the steamy jungles of Papua New Guinea.
The book has attracted the attention of Papua New Guineans living and working in London too.
Lesley Bahn Kawa, who was born in the Jimi Valley close to the Wahgi Valley and who is an NHS Consultant Physician wrote:
“Robert’s book has rich history. It also been prophetic about PNG’s current social and political discourse and gives us a glimpse about how Papua New Guineans can use the experiences in the book to overcome the challenges that seem unabated today on all domains of lives. A must read.”
When Winnie Kiap was PNG’s High Commissioner to the UK she wrote:
“The Northumbrian Kiap offers the kindest, and most sympathetic, account of pre-independence life among PNG’s village people that I have read.”