To sophisticated visitors the Andaman Islands would even today look like a dreamland. Aboriginal tribes are not the only inhabitants of these islands as was the case ages ago: a large number of settlers belonging to different tribes and ethnic groups have brought in some element of traditional cosmopolitan culture. Yet the savage beauty of the islands watered by the Bay of Bengal, the perennial economic features and the rather sombre backdrop all over strikes any visitor to the islands today.
Before Edward Horace Man went to the islands as Assistant Superintendent of Andamans and Nicobars: practically nothing was known of the mysteries of this human settlement in wilderness. It was absolutely untouched by any medium of communication and Port Blair or any other strip never figured in the newspapers : any systematic sociological study was, therefore, beyond the realms of possibility.
The exploratory acumen of E.H. Man soon convinced the aboriginals that he was no burra sahib given to temptations and comfort. He had sympathy for the locals and mixed with them as freely as any aboriginal could think of. As a consequence, Man's name became magical in the islands. Subsequent researchers have recorded that the local inhabitants could be made to do anything at the mere dropping of Man's name. No wonder, the inhabitants chose to name one of the islands after Man, on his departure, which in itself was the cause of widespread grief in the islands.
Recent official interest in the reorganisation of the Andamans and Nicobars makes this book more valuable today. For, the need to understand the urges and aspirations of the locals, in New Delhi and elsewhere, is more acute today than it was ever before.