The moments and places which are explored in successive chapters move from the centre in Antananarivo (the modern-day capital of Madagascar), through the encounter with members of the London Missionary Society and their understandings of landscape amongst other things from a background in early nineteenth-century Cardiganshire, to the situation as it obtained on the southern frontier of Imerina
as it was drawn into the nineteenth-century state.
It traces the Imerina
, forest depletion (1790-1861), science illustration and the normalizing of fauna in nineteenth-century Madagascar, merging customary law and national land legislation, land rights and alien plants in dryland Madagascar, parenting through boom and bust in northern Malagasy mining towns, nature/culture dualism of mining engagements, land acquisition Madagascar, and political crisis.
His book provoked considerable public controversy in Imerina, and received negative reviews from intellectuals such as Louis Michel  and Maurice Bloch,  who followed earlier authors, including Alfred and Guillaume Grandidier  and Raymond Decary,  who alluded to, but summarily rejected, the alleged tradition of funereal cannibalism among the Merina.
14] It was also noted in Madagascar during the imperial campaigns of Ranavalona I of Imerina in the period 1829-1853, both among the Taisaka on the southeast littoral of the island, and the Ikongo of the southeast plateau who ate Merina captives during a prolonged siege of their hilltop fortress.
Yet other authors saw in the bright colours evidence of the influence of British artisans who worked in Imerina
While official Vezo discourse constructs jaoloka as "lazy," a good many were migrants to the area who couldn't rely on the labor of kin to help them build houses; and in central Imerina men followed their spouses when the women had access to more land.
See for example Rita Astuti, People of the Sea: Identity and Descent Among the Vezo of Madagascar (Cambridge, UK, 1995); Sophie Blanchy, "Femmes et Residence Familiale: Quelques notes sur les regles, les faits contemporains et l'ideologie en Imerina," in Sarah Fee, ed.
He realised that the eighteenth-century Malagasy kingdom of Imerina
could be considered as an example of pristine state formation, protected in its highland fastness from external influences by its inhospitable coastal zones.
The traditions recorded in the Tantaran' Ny Andriana come from the centre of the old fanjakana of Imerina and were remembered with a view to reproducing, maintaining and interpreting the social structures of the mid 19th century (Larson 1992).
This area would also be termed Imerina; Central Imerina refers to the Merina core of the fanjakana (see FIGURES 1 & 2).
Similarly, in Imerina (the dominant kingdom in the highlands) soil was considered to have sacred properties and, though it belonged to the king, even he could not build his house out of it.
In Imerina stone came to have a legitimatory purpose in inaugurating and underwriting the establishment of state power in the 18th century.