Colin Turnbull lived among the pygmies of the Ituri Forest in the Congo as their friend for three years. He writes about their hunting parties, their nomadic camps, their quarrels and love affairs, their music and their ceremonies. It is an account of an earthly paradise and of a legendary and delightful people. The author also wrote "The Mountain People", "The Lonely African" and "Tibet".
Colin Turnbull is now retired, having held a number of teaching posts at American universities. But he received his university education and anthropological training at Oxford, which confirmed his already strongly humanistic feelings. For him field work was the most important part of his career, and although 'the field' was mainly in East and Central Africa, it was also India and Tibet, and (more recently) Polynesia, where he lived for three years. In the United States he was actively engaged in academic research into the prison system, and did much work on 'death row' in a number of states, as a result of which he emerged more strongly opposed than ever to capital punishment, on both academic and moral grounds. The same kind of concern for humanity shows in much of his writing. He was ordained in India as a full Buddhist monk by the Dalai Lama in1992, although his first contact with Tibetan Buddhism was as far back as 1949. His publications include Lonely African, The Mountain People, Tibet (with Thubten Norbu), and The Human cycle. He divides his time between the monastery of which he is a member in Dharmasala, and the United States.