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John Simpson, World Affairs Editor, BBC News

‘Deeply moving. Deserves our support.’

Matthew Parris, Writer and Broadcaster

‘Anthropologically important, with a message pivotal to the survival of an indigenous island society on the edge of extinction.’

Richard Luce, former U.K. government minister

‘A fascinating book. I strongly recommend it.’


Jonathan Lawley was born in India (now Pakistan). His family links go back five generations to the East India Company. After Indian independence, his family moved to Africa where he became the last white district commissioner in independent Zambia. His grandfather had been a colonial administrator of the Andaman Islands in the early 1900s and was responsible for carrying out two censuses, in 1911 and 1921.


The Jarawa, perhaps the oldest tribe of human beings in the world, may go extinct because of a road that runs through pristine forests in the Indian-administered Andaman Islands, in the Bay of Bengal, and no one seems to care.

Tourists take the road each day to try and get selfies with the tribespeople, who came from what is now Botswana over 60,000 years ago.

Once proud of their independence, the Jarawa are now tempted with biscuits and trinkets, as if they were exotic animals in a human safari park. They can’t survive like this.

In this astonishing book, Jonathan Lawley returns to what was once a penal colony built by the British to house Indian mutineers.

He asks what responsibility colonial administrators like his grandfather may have had for the sad plight of these palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, and what the Indian government should now be doing to protect them.

Sumptuously illustrated with the author’s never-before-seen archive photographs.

Jonathan Lawley

A Road to Extinction

Can Palaeolithic Africans survive in

the Andaman Islands?

PUBLISHER EnvelopeBooks 

FORMAT Paperback/Softback 

EXTENT 192 pages
SIZE 203mm x 127mm (8” x 5”) 

ILLUSTRATIONS 32 b/w; 2 maps 

ISBN 9781838172015

GENRE Anthropology/Social History 

RRP £9.99
PUBLICATION DATE 10 December 2020 

PR/PUBLICITY Dr Stephen Games


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