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The West Indies and the Spanish Main [Paperback]

Anthony Trollope


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Book Description

April 20 1999
Coping with ill-iced claret, rotten walnuts, and withered apples, British Postal Service employee and successful Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope sailed aboard the Atrato from the English port of Southampton to Kingston, Jamaica, in November, 1858 to survey land and conclude treaties in the West Indies and Central America for the English government. In the course of his extended sojourn, he also wrote a book -- not about official business but rather about the islands he visited and the people he met; about breathtaking landscapes, exotic foods, the tropical climate, earthquakes, Panamanian railroads, Cuban cigars, racial hierarchies, and colonial customs.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: CARROLL & GRAF PUBLISHERS; New edition edition (April 20 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786706384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786706389
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 426 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,635,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I AM beginning to write this book on board the brig -, trading between Kingston, in Jamaica, and Cien Fuegos, on the southern coast of Cuba. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Anthony Trollope, Postman and Travel Writer May 5 2005
By Jana C. Hollingsworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In the late 1850s, British postal employee Anthony Trollope travelled though the Caribbean Islands and Central America on Official Business. In his free time he wrote a book about what he saw and what he thought about it. He undergoes the usual travel woes (terrible boats, worse food), and spends considerable time discussing the projected Nicaragua Canal (not worth the expense). But most interesting are his views on the recently emancipated blacks of the British colonies.

Writing on the eve of the American Civil War, Trollope's feelings are ambiguous. As a Christian, he knows that emancipation was, in the abstract, a good thing. But he clearly feels that the days of slavery were the Good Old Days (he uses that actual phrase) when the islands were prosperous. The free blacks, to Trollope's annoyance, insist on working only enough to supply their own wants, which are relatively few. All this fertile land is going to waste for lack of labor because there's no way to force the blacks to work. (At this time in Britain, a worker could not quit his job without his employer's permission.)

The issue for Trollope is not just economic. Idleness is a sin and a sign of barbarism. Of course you didn't see Trollope himself toiling away in the hot sun--or even in the cold rain, since it was widely believed that physical labor in the tropics was fatal to white people. It's a fascinating glimpse of mid-19th century racial attitudes, as long as you can keep your historical perspective. If you become angry because Trollope refuses to think like a 21st century liberal, you won't learn anything.
5.0 out of 5 stars Travel Guide to West Indies July 7 2012
By Shorty - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anthony Trollope outstanding novelist of 19th Century - wrote this 'travel guide' to West Indies. His comments about the culture and different islands are just as previlant today as they were back then.

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