Books: Found Continent

WARRIORS AND STRANGERS by GERALD HANLEY 319 pages. Harper & Row. $7.95.

British colonialism has produced a remarkable assortment of fruits and nuts, notably Lawrence of Arabia. But there have also been magnificent blossoms. Sir Richard Burton, the 19th century linguist and imperialist advance man, was an entire garden of delights. Gerald Hanley, the novelist and screenwriter (The Blue Max), is no Burton, although at one point in this memoir he claims to have succeeded where Burton failed—in discovering the secret of Wabaio, a potent arrow poison.

But mainly Hanley recalls a world on the wane with the grace and occasional wisdom of...