n a giant's journey across the face of Asia in 1961, this French reporter recorded his astute impressions of the teeming continent--from the Persian Gulf to the Pacific. Conclusions from private political surveys he conducted in each country are strung like reportorial beads on the more familiar thread of difficulties and adventures encountered by any hardy Asian traveler. From the Arabian deserts of the Middle East through Central Asia, the Himalayas, Bengal jungles, the Indochinese peninsula, to Korea and Japan, the traveler lets the nations speak for themselves. Interviews with national leaders like Ben Gurion, Nehru and Diem offer the view from the top, while comments from the author's hosts, guides and other chance acquaintances round out the complex picture. In addition, thumbnail histories and descriptions of the lasser known areas contribute background to the observations and commentary on the political present and future of the continent. Behind the enigmas lies, as always, the shadow of the East/West alternative, but the author's French viewpoint tends to present the conflict in a more objective, less black/white drawing than many U.S. observers. Most valuable for its fund of information, the chronicle provides a series of journalistic vignettes that help to collate the facts dispensed and dispersed by the daily press into an up-to-date, over-all view of Asia. The international importance of that continent today assures the book of a raison d'etre and its readers of a highly educational grand tour.