Cargoes of the East: the ports, trade and culture of the Arabian seas and Western Indian Ocean. Esmond Bradley Martin & Chryssee Perry Martin London: Hamish Hamilton. 1978. 244 pp.
Zanzibar: Tradition and Revolution. Esmond Bradley Martin. London: Hamish Hamilton. 1978. 149pp.
Cargoes of the East is a long romantic pictorial essay on the traditional sailing vessel of the Western Indian Ocean, the dhow. The authors, an adventurous husband and wife team, have spent many years studying the dhow: where they go, who sails in them and what they carry. They have travelled widely in this area and talked to dhow owners, builders, captains, sailors, the buyers and sellers of the strange and exotic cargoes carried by these boats and written a diverting,almost escapist account of their research and travels. Though what has come to be known as a 'coffee table book', Cargoes has a wealth of anecdotes and richly-reproduced photographs.
Zanzibar has been more or less closed to the outside world since 1964. Edmond Bradley Martin claims to be the first writer to have been allowed full access by the authorities to 'carryout research and fieldwork' on Zanzibar and the island of Pemba which according to rumours current in the sixties was being converted into a Chinese military base. Being a geographer and because of his familiarity with East Africa, he has produced a good handbook, rich in description about the country's culture and ethnography.He also discusses Zanzibar's agricultural economy, its tourism and Islamic practices and includes a chapter on the country's future role in East Africa.
Third World Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan., 1979), pp. 167-168.