With the paucity of material on Ethiopia, this account of a scientific exploration, twenty days ride from the coast into the heart of Abyssinia, should be welcome. The author, a French scientist, reveals it as a strange anomaly -- a country with a thin, very thin veneer, of Christianity and civilization, scarcely cloaking the essential savagery and brutality and superstition and paganism. In an oddly oblique manner, he gives swift glimpses of the customs, the temperament of the natives, the religion, the life. He tells of a cannibalistic punishment -- burning alive of a traitor. He gets an inside view of primitive courts, with pomp and inadequacy mixed. It isn't light reading -- but it is worth while. The style is clipped, eliptical, vivid.