Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire Paperback – May 27 2004
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About the Author
Simon Winchester was a geologist at Oxford and worked in Africa and on offshore oil rigs before becoming a full-time globe-trotting foreign correspondent and writer. He currently lives on a small farm in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, an apartment in New York's West Village and in the Western Isles of Scotland.
Simon Winchester was made Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by HM The Queen in 2006. He received the honor in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Simon Winchester travels to the far reaches of the British Empire. Winchester reads his own sometimes oddball tales. He tells of a cricket match on St. Helena in which a fielder falls off the edge and thus is "retired, dead." On Ascension Island, an island so small it was considered a ship--the H.M.S. ASCENSION--any baby born was considered born at sea. Winchester's nicely modulated voice is perfect for reading this history/travelogue. He is engaging while narrating the history and perpetually amused at the quirks of keeping the Empire alive no matter the discomfort. The production concludes with an interview in which Winchester discusses his delight at discovering that readers share his fascination with geology. A.B. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Like most long journeys into the unknown, this one began with an idea - an idea that was triggered by a strange story I read one wet Sunday afternoon in a recent early spring, on the front page of a London newspaper. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Top Customer Reviews
Brilliantly written and extremely captivating, even those without an apparent interest in the subject would be moved by this book. I think it would at least further their curiosity in these remote British patriots and their daily trials on their remote outcrop homes.
Harry Ritchie writes on a similar line in his book The Last Pink Bits, yet his research is noticeably less than Winchester's, by far. His tone at the start even appears one of mild annoyance at having to travel the world on the subject (surely his own idea?!) to the extent that I actually wonder why he bothered. New-found UK celebrity Ben Fogle also attempts a work entitled The Teatime Islands, and although a brave attempt at starting his writing career, I think he should stick to presenting daytime television.
Outposts is an extremely well-leafed book in my collection, which I keep revisiting. I cannot recommend it highly enough for those interested in travel, days of empire and UK world history. I particularly like the chapter on Ascension Island. Wonderful language....
Although somewhat out of date (Hong Kong is most definitely not a relic of the Empire any longer, for example), this pleasant little book gives the reader a good, close look at some places that might otherwise be not much more obscure names on the globe. The story of how Winchester came to visit all the places he writes about (excepting Pitcairn Islands) is very engaging and his descriptions of the places and people he encounters makes for an entertaining read. I would have liked a few more pictures, and maybe some better maps, but I generally enjoyed this book.
I'll admit this is a personal opinion (and you may well disagree) but I'd suggest that any fool with sufficient motivation and desire can complete the research and develop the information necessary to write a non-fiction book. But it is only a very special and exceptionally talented author who can write non-fiction in such a fashion as to turn that book into a compelling page-turner that reads like a novel and holds a reader's interest with the grip of the most exciting thrillers. Like Bill Bryson or Canada's Pierre Berton and Ken McGoogan, Simon Winchester is one of those authors with the ability to vault over that rather daunting bar.
Blending history, geography, biology, geology, sociology, linguistics and anthropology into a positively delicious cocktail, Winchester tells us the stories of such little known imperial tidbits as Tristan da Cunha, St Helena, Pitcairn Island, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Ascension and BIOT (the British Indian Ocean Territory).Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
There was a time when the sun didn't set on the British Empire. It controlled twenty five percent of the world`s land mass and twenty five percent of it`s population. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert P. Brown
Simon Winchester again entertains and educates as he lovingly and nostalgically (and realistically) visits the scattered remains of the once mighty British Empire.Published on May 20 2011 by Frank M. Letourneau