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5.0 out of 5 stars A Story Worth Telling -A Story Worth Reading!
Having been to Easter Island and knowing a little about Katherine Routledge, I was delighted to see that someone had finally written about her fascinating life. She was a remarkable woman whose life was interesting, intriguing, and tragic. Dr. Van Tilburg traces her life as a young child of privilege, growing up surrounded by Quaker ideals in England through her life at...
Published on May 11 2003 by marty gonzalez

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy with care
This book scores highly for the length of its footnotes and its bibliographies - and van Tilburg is to be congratulated on bringing a great but overlooked story into print - but how much do you trust a biographer who mistakes the dates of both the birth and marriage of her subject?
Knowing a little of Katherine Routledge and her times, I found van Tilburg's narrative...
Published on April 26 2004 by Mike Pitts


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy with care, April 26 2004
This review is from: Among Stone Giants: The Life of Katherine Routledge and Her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island (Hardcover)
This book scores highly for the length of its footnotes and its bibliographies - and van Tilburg is to be congratulated on bringing a great but overlooked story into print - but how much do you trust a biographer who mistakes the dates of both the birth and marriage of her subject?
Knowing a little of Katherine Routledge and her times, I found van Tilburg's narrative unconvincing. Perhaps it would be unfair to expect an author working from America to understand the absurd and divisive nuances of British notions of class, though class was a key factor in Routledge's life. I bridled, however, at the author's repeated insistence on Routledge's mental illness. Has van Tilburg seen evidence for this, perhaps from Routledge's surviving family (tracking down descendants, even establishing the fate of the ship Mana, is something van Tilburg does well) that she is not prepared to publish? The suggestion that Routledge's life and work were profoundly affected by schizophrenia is a major charge. It needs more substantiation than this book presents: what we have does not rise above gossip.
The book is also curiously thin, coming from an author with much experience of Easter Island archaeology, on what makes Routledge's Pacific work so special. There are many details here, and much useful material to inspire and aid further research. Too many minor errors, however, warn against taking it all on trust. Read and enjoy, but keep your critical faculties about you.
(For the record: Katherine Routledge was born on 11 March 1866 [not 11 August, though the author has corrected her previously published error over the year] and was married on 8 August [not 6 August] 1906 - she was over, not nearly, 40 on her wedding day. Nit picking? These dates are easy to check. The reader, though, cannot check facts that van Tilburg quotes from inaccessible or ungiven sources)
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3.0 out of 5 stars A vanilla read., July 15 2003
This review is from: Among Stone Giants: The Life of Katherine Routledge and Her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island (Hardcover)
A fine, factual account of the life of Kathryn Routledge with lots of nice, pieces of interesting data. It was a decent scholarly read but certainly not the kind of book that will keep you glued to your summer lounge chair, knowing you need to put on more sun screen because your skin is burning...but you just have to read one more page... No. Not that kind of book. At times, it took self discipline to get through it. Why don't we know more about Scorsby Routledge other than his habit of being most annoying? Was he gay? Was he a decent, tender person toward Kathryn? Who knows other than that they never slept together and they spent nearly half of their marriage apart. Again, it was just sort of a factual account of the life of Kathryn Pease Routledge-no more but certainly no less. Make no mistake, I know WHAT happened to our protagonist. However, the WHY things happened was lacking and then became non-existent toward the end of the book. This was not what I expected to read and I was glad when I finally ran out of pages so I could pick up a more interesting summer read- like "Batavia's Graveyard" and "West With the Night".
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Story Worth Telling -A Story Worth Reading!, May 11 2003
By 
marty gonzalez (Long Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Among Stone Giants: The Life of Katherine Routledge and Her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island (Hardcover)
Having been to Easter Island and knowing a little about Katherine Routledge, I was delighted to see that someone had finally written about her fascinating life. She was a remarkable woman whose life was interesting, intriguing, and tragic. Dr. Van Tilburg traces her life as a young child of privilege, growing up surrounded by Quaker ideals in England through her life at Oxford University, her marriage to William Scoresby Routledge and travels to Africa, South America, Easter Island, Mangareva and her final years back in England.
This is a biography that has been thoroughly researched; notes are referenced with interviews, Katherine's personal research and letters, Scoresby's papers and the author's endless sleuthing in all parts of the world that Katherine lived or visited.

The major part of the book is Katherine's stay on Easter Island. The author interweaves Katherine's personal and academic life with what is scientifically known about Easter Island archaeology and the people who inhabited the island then and now. Her words and thoughts are beautifully crafted and bring Katherine to life in a vivid and passionate manner. I could not put this book down and didn't want it to end. It is a story well told.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Stellar Biography!, Aug. 9 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Among Stone Giants: The Life of Katherine Routledge and Her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island (Hardcover)
This interesting and scholarly biography of Katherine Routledge is compelling and entertaining. Among Stone Giants seems to be an exceptionally well researched biography, and draws extensively on archaeologist JoAnne Van Tilburg's fist hand knowledge of Easter Island, its people and its history.
While Katherine Routledge may be relatively unknown to many, this fantastic book truly brings her to life. Van Tilburg is clearly an impartial by empathetic biographer, and the reader is moved to sympathize with Katherine's challenging life struggles. JoAnne Van Tilburg's prose creates a vivid portrait of the Island, its people and Katherine's place there.
Perhaps the author's greatest accomplishment is conveying to her reader how vital and extraordinary were Katherine Routledge's contributions to the present day archaeological record of the Island.
A MUST READ!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fine biography and a compelling story, Aug. 26 2003
By 
Claus Hetting (Gentofte, Copenhagen Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Among Stone Giants: The Life of Katherine Routledge and Her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island (Hardcover)
This book traces the unusual and dramatic life of the extraordinary anthropologist Katherine Routledge, who was the first to conduct a scientific field study of the strange and isolated Easter Island, famous for its giant stone statues. The story has all the elements of a major novel, such as unrequited love, exotic places, wars, schooners, spies, rebellion, archaeological mysteries, and much more. On a personal level it is a tribute to the courage and genius of Katherine Routledge who in the end sadly succumbed to mental illness. Her legacy is the profound knowledge we have today of Easter Island and its strange history. Finally, I think that this book would make and excellent subject of a major motion picture!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant and Compelling!, May 10 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Among Stone Giants: The Life of Katherine Routledge and Her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island (Hardcover)
This book is a MUST READ! It was very informative and well researched. I was impressed by the obvious depth and care the author took to portray her subjects in a fair and impartial light. She explored all her character's strengths and weaknesses equally, and this made for a compelling read. The author obviously had a great deal of empathy for her subject.
I would love to see this book made into a movie! The author's beautiful word pictures would translate VERY well to the big screen.
I would recommend this wonderful book to anyone who might be planning on traveling to Easter Island or who would like to learn more about this magnificent place!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Journey, May 13 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Among Stone Giants: The Life of Katherine Routledge and Her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island (Hardcover)
Jo Anne Van Tilburg's AMONG STONE GIANTS took me on an incredible journey. I read many biographies and this one stands up with some of the very best. The depth of her research amazed me. I felt as though I was standing right beside Katherine Routledge as she fought against the contraints of her family and her era to follow her dream to explore Easter Island. I was moved to tears more than once and so sorry when I finished the last page. This is a great read that interweaves archaeology, primitive culture, and feminist energy with wealth, mental illness, and a quest to uncover ancient secrets. Terrific idea for a Mother's or Father's Day gift!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Travel Adventure, Aug. 22 2003
By 
Arthur (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Among Stone Giants: The Life of Katherine Routledge and Her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island (Hardcover)
Among Stone Giants tells the story of the husband and wife who conducted the first archaeological expedition to Easter Island. The book is three stories in one: the history of a privileged but dysfunctional 19th century British family; an adventure tale of a dangerous journey to a mysterious destination; the account of a difficult scientific expedition. It is also a well-told story, engaging through its well-researched and gracefully presented details, penetrating in its psychological insights into the major characters. A must read for those who want substance to their travel literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational adventure, May 25 2004
By 
Matthew Kline "mkline9" (Malibu) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Among Stone Giants: The Life of Katherine Routledge and Her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island (Hardcover)
This is a fascinating account not only of Katherine Routledge's journey to Easter Island, but her journey through life. For a Victorian woman to graduate from Oxford, live in Africa, organize an expedition to one of the most remote places on earth, and ultimately succumb to schizophrenia is truly a remarkable story. This is a compelling read, full of interesting facts, as well as wonderous parallels. It is a story of determination and frustration, success and failure, love and loss. Great summer read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and EXCITING!, June 11 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Among Stone Giants: The Life of Katherine Routledge and Her Remarkable Expedition to Easter Island (Hardcover)
This book should top your list of Summer reading. I found that I had to keep reminding myself that this was a true story- it is amazing that all of this actually took place in Victorian times. I commend the author for taking the time to do such in-depth research. I can't wait for Van Tilburg to come out with another book!
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