Surviving Paradise: One Year on a Disappearing Island

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Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2009 - Travel - 244 pages

Just one month after his 21st birthday, Peter Rudiak-Gould moved to Ujae, a remote atoll in the Marshall Islands located 70 miles from the nearest telephone, car, store, or tourist, and 2,000 miles from the closest continent. He spent the next year there, living among its 450 inhabitants and teaching English to its schoolchildren.

At first blush, Surviving Paradise is a thoughtful and laugh-out-loud hilarious documentation of Rudiak-Gould’s efforts to cope with daily life on Ujae as his idealistic expectations of a tropical paradise confront harsh reality. But Rudiak-Gould goes beyond the personal, interweaving his own story with fascinating political, linguistic, and ecological digressions about the Marshall Islands. Most poignant are his observations of the noticeable effect of global warming on these tiny, low-lying islands and the threat rising water levels pose to their already precarious existence.

An Eat, Pray, Love as written by Paul Theroux, Surviving Paradise is a disarmingly lighthearted narrative with a substantive emotional undercurrent.


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User Review  - nancynova - LibraryThing

Picked up from the library because it was set in Ujae, Marshall Islands for the states reading challenge. Peter, a newly minted teacher, accepts an assignment to teach English on the tropical island ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - akreese - LibraryThing

Peter Rudiak-Gould signed up with the WorldTeach volunteer organization and chose to spend a year teaching English in one of the most remote locations on the globe: The Marshall Islands. Not only that ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Peter Rudiak-Gould is currently pursuing a doctorate in anthropology at Oxford, focusing on Marshallese understandings of global warming and sea level rise. In the summer of 2007, he interviewed the President of the Marshall Islands regarding the effects of climate change. Proficient in Marshallese, the native language of the Marshall Islands, he is the author of the language textbook used by the WorldTeach volunteer organization as its official language manual for the Marshall Islands program.

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