Searching for Crusoe: a journey among the last real islands
They inspire feelings of great passion, serenity, and sometimes fear . . . they give people the opportunity to find themselves--or to lose their minds . . . they are revered as paradise or treated as junkyards . . . both haunted by and respectful of history . . . they are central to the myths and religions of many peoples throughout time . . . they provide a real, friendly community or the hell of repetitive social encounters . . . What is it about islands that has captivated millions of people around the world and through the centuries? In a penetrating, brilliantly written book that weaves sociology, history, politics, personality, and ancient and popular culture into one compelling narrative, Thurston Clarke island-hops around the oceans of the world, searching for an explanation for the most passionate and enduring geographic love affair of all time--between humankind and islands. Along the way Clarke visits the remote and silent Mas A Tierra, the island off the coast of Chile that inspired Defoe to write Robinson Crusoe; tropical Banda Neira, one of the Spice Islands, where its self-crowned prince hopes for nothing less than nutmeg's complete and glorious revival; sleepy, simple Campobello, the Canadian island where Franklin D. Roosevelt spent his boyhood summers; Patmos, with its imposing mountaintop monastery; Malekula, once the most notorious cannibal island in the world; and Jura in Scotland's Hebrides, where George Orwell wrote 1984--the island that turned Clarke into a islomane, someone Lawrence Durrell says experiences an "indescribable intoxication" at finding himself in "a little world surrounded by the sea." Despite colonialism and missionary conversions, wartime scars and shrinking coasts, islands have thrived. Though each island is unique in its own way, Clarke discovers that the islanders themselves are a distinct people-- tranquilized by their watery horizons yet sensitive to the first shift in weather, conservative yet more likely to drop their inhibitions because no one is looking. And over every island falls the shadow of Robinson Crusoe, persuading us that islands are more liberating than confining, more contemplative than lonely, more holy than barbaric because we have been "removed from all the wickedness of the world." In a stunning work of wit, adventure, and incisive exploration, Thurston Clarke brings a unique passion to dazzling life.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Lots of unexpected surprises as the author explores a variety of locations to examine man's love affair with islands. Suggested reading for my friends undersail.
Searching for Crusoe: a journey among the last real islandsUser Review - Book Verdict
The award-winning author of the California Fault begins a world tour of island hopping by visiting M s Tierra, the island off the coast of Chile that inspired Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Along the way, Clarke also visits Campobello, the Canadian Island where FDR spent his boyhood summers; the Holy Island of Patmos; the Asian prison island of Phu Koc; and the island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard, a Norwegian-administered archipelago 600 miles south of the North Pole. At Banda Neira in the Spice Islands, the author observes the slow and peaceful lifestyle, where the loudest night noises "came from the click of bicycle pedals and the slap of dominoes." Throughout, lone traveler Clarke explores the lure and lore of islands, including paradise, utopia, myth, mutiny, starvation, exploitation, disease, and stunning beauty. He even has a prediction for the future: in the age of Club Med and international jetports, with "the last real islands" threatened by global warming, world communication, and cruise ships boasting more people than the places they visit, the one-red-telephone-booth island is a relic. Highly recommended for public libraries.DMargaret W. Norton, Oak Park, IL ...
Searching for Paradise: A Grand Tour of the World's Unspoiled Islands
No preview available - 2002
THE FOUR BROTHERS
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