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Tropic Tide, An Adventurer's Life - by Mandaley Perkins

Mandaley's objective is that her writing be not only entertaining, but enlightening, that her books have the feel of a historical novel, except that everything that happens in them is true.

Mandaley Perkins' love of writing evolved out of a fascination for South East Asia and its colonial history, and the experiences of her own family. In her journey to explore that history she was inspired to write Tropic Tide, published by Transworld (Random House) in 1998. Here she takes her father's experiences and, through painstaking research, weaves them through the dramatic historical events of the period, including the fall of Singapore, the building of the infamous Burma Siam Railway and the Communist Emergency in Malaya. Along the way she embarked on her own adventure, retracing her father's life in Singapore and Malaya, and tracking down old associates in Australia and the U.K. The discovery of a cache of diaries and letters in her father's native Cornwall led the story further into the wilds of northern Australia and the Arafura Sea, where she was moved to explore the questions of the fate of Arnhem Land's aborigines and the annexation of East Timor.

Tropic Tide an adventurer's life by Mandaley Perkins, Perkins Shipping, fall of Singapore, Malayan Emergency, Burma Siam Railway, Malay Regiment, adventurer, North Australian shipping, Arnhem Land, Singapore Naval Base, Changi

Mandaley Perkins

“…narrative as strong and clear-eyed in discerning the political intricacies and their deadly consequences, as it is poetically evocative of the landscape and people…
Hanoi, Adieu is an exquisitely beautiful and most beguiling story.”
2006 NSW Premiers Literary Awards, judges comments


Mandaley Perkins’ love of writing was inspired by a fascination for South-East Asia and its history, and the experiences of her own family during World War 2 and beyond. Her books among other things explore the fall of the British Empire in Singapore and Malaya, and the French Empire in Indochina, weaving the history through the personal experience of those who were there.

From the Japanese invasions in World War 2 to the postwar communist insurrections in Malaya and Vietnam, Mandaley was absorbed by how the different approaches taken by the French and the British in their colonial possessions led to such different outcomes, how decisions made far away in Paris, London and Washington affected the lives of the people, and how what happened in those post war years resonates with events unfurling in the world today.


Mandy Perkins
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