I have never heard of Thurston Clarke but picked this book up second hand at a book fair because it looked interesting And indeed it was A little dated 2001 but he writes so well that even ordinary details become interesting and I found myself reading just one chapter before bed and then another one and then another one Over the intervening years the idyllic islands are probably no longer quite so idyllic and the ugly ones probably uglier still but that doesn t make the stories in this book any less interesting.
This book is clearly for those fans of islands, and I am certainly one of those Clarke helped me understand my own islomania and infatuation with islands I did not realize there was such a thing, but as I have become savvy, I get my enthusiasm, and this book helped me define, understand and embrace it.
Searching out islands and exploring them is a valid endeavor.
Life on an island has a special quality, a mix of independence and isolation which often creates unusual society Thurston Clarke describes visits to perhaps 20 islands, scattered around the globe They are carefully selected not too big e.
g Jamaica, Mauritius, Malta , nor too small Like Tolstoy s unhappy families, each island is different In most of them, isolation has driven people to greater togetherness but not always The book starts with Mas a Tierra off the coast of Chile, now renamed Isla Robinson Crusoe because that was where a Scottish seaman named Alexander Selkirk was marooned for than four years, providing the foundation to Defoe s Robinson Crusoe The facts about Selkirk are well known, but on the last island in the book, Utila off the coast of Honduras, Clarke finds people who claim no, it was THEIR island In between you find Banda Neira in the Spice Islands, whose welfare became the old age hobby of a famous native son though, as the epilogue tells, even he could not prevent religious riots You visit Espiritu Santo, the locale of South Pacific, and the Maldive archipelago, whose average elevation above sea level is just 1 meter Its natives fearfully watch global warming raise the sea level, and yet they add to it in their own way There is Niihau, the Hawaiian island whose owners struggle to keep it pristine, and Jura and Eigg off Scotland, offering refuge from urban Britain And others You will enjoy this travelogue Buy it, ration yourself to one chapter per evening, and you will have two weeks of eye opening reading, about wonderful and strange places You may well never set foot on any of them, but Clarke s narrative is the next best thing Note This book was originally published under the name Searching for Crusoe Low 3 Unfortunately, Clarke fails to transmit fully his passion for islands to this reader The book cannot maintain the early promise of the opening chapter on Mas a Tierra in the Pacific, the island where the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe was castaway The only chapter which came close to reigniting avid interest was that on the sinking islands of the Maldives Sporadically an engaging read.
2010 Like most people, I am interested in most anything island related This book was a good mixture of both discovered and hence overpopulated, polluted, etc islands and undiscovered islands Overall a quick and interesting history travelogue.
DELIGHTFUL INQUISITIVE AND INTELLIGENT, THIS BOOK WILL TAKE YOU FAR AND OPEN YOUR EYESThe Seattle Times 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 Enduring Geographic Love Affair Of All Time Between Humankind And Islands Along The Way Clarke Visits The Remote And Silent Mas Tierra, The Island Off The Coast Of Chile That Inspired Defoe To Write Robinson Crusoe Sleepy, Simple Campobello, The Canadian Island Where Franklin D Roosevelt Spent His Boyhood Summers Jura In The Hebrides, Where George Orwell Wrote A Stunning Work Of Wit, Adventure, And Incisive Exploration, Searching For Paradise Brings A Unique Passion To Dazzling Life This Enchanting Hymn To Our Ceaseless Fascination For Islands And Insularity Is Brilliant, Quite Without Equal Thurston Clarke S Wisdom And Sensitivity Radiate From Every Page He Fills Us With An Inexplicable Longing For The Land And The People Glimpsed Above The Cliff Top, And Through The Grasses Beyond The Beach SIMON WINCHESTER Author Of The Professor And The Madman An Intelligent, Passionate, Absorbing Book That Manages To Pull Together The Threads Of History, Myth, Travelogue, Personal Reflection, And Social Commentary Into A Delightful NarrativeToronto Globe And Mail Surprisingly good Picked this up as a free book somewhere for a car book as something to read while waiting After living on Gabriola Island I can relate to his stories and loved his insights into some of the remote and wonderful places he visited.
Author does a good job portraying life on several remote islands.