Publisher description for In the arms of Africa : the life of Colin M. Turnbull / Roy Richard Grinker.


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What Margaret Mead did for Samoa, Colin Turnbull did for Africa. An upper class Oxford-educated Englishman, Turnbull’s life-long love affair with the African Pygmies made him one of the most famous intellectuals of the 1960s and ‘70s. In an intimate portrait of a remarkable man--at various times a gold-miner, builder of “The African Queen,” and anti-death penalty advocate--Grinker describes how Turnbull fell in love with a beautiful but poor African American named Joe Towles who became as much Turnbul’s heroic creation as did the Pygmies. For 30 years, they lives as an openly gay, interracial couple in New York City and rural Virginia until Joe’s death of AIDS in 1988. Devastated, Turnbull buried his own spirit in a second coffin laid next to Towles, gave away most of his money, and until his own death from AIDS in 1994, lived as a Buddhist monk tutored by the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother. This is a compelling story of a celebrity scholar, his sexuality and his passion for a fiercely lived life.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Turnbull, Colin M.
Gay anthropologists -- United States -- Biography.
Gay anthropologists -- Africa -- Biography.
Mbuti (African people)
Ik (African people)