One man's version of the truth in New Guinea,"" concerned ""more with the vicissitudes of communities than of individuals."" The ""one man"" is an Australian journalist whose experience of New Guinea extends over a thirty- year period. He considers New Guinea ""the last great wilderness left on earth,"" a laboratory which offers the opportunity to show whether ethnic groups inferior in social organization and technical achievement can be accorded genuine political independence, and whether programs of education and aid, conducted by the advanced nations for the benefit of the backward, can eliminate the disturbing effect of external influence on a society. Mr. White moves from a description of the physical aspects of the land and the society before European penetration through partition (British, German), the Australian takeover, World War II, the Indonesians wresting West Irian from the Dutch, to the present Australian predicament of whether and how to get out. He sees a probable turning to Indonesia in a politically independent situation which the thousand tribes are not ready to face alone. A sound report of an issue which is essentially peripheral to present American concerns and therefore somewhat special.