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Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire [Paperback]

Simon Winchester
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jun 2003

The reissue of a Simon Winchester classic

In 1985 Simon Winchester, struck by a sudden need to discover exactly what was left of the British Empire travelled 100,000 miles back and forth from Antarctica to the Caribbean to visit the far-flung islands that are all that remain of what once made Britain great. His adventures in these distant and forgotten ends of the earth make compelling and often funny reading.

With a new introduction and additional material in many of the chapters, this revised edition tells us what has happened while the author's been away.



Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (5 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141011890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141011899
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Simon Winchester studied Geology at Oxford University. He is the author of 'Atlantic','A Crack in the Edge of the World', 'Krakatoa', 'The Map That Changed the World', 'The Professor and the Madman', 'The Fracture Zone', 'Outposts', 'Korea', among many other titles. He lives in Massachusetts and in the Western Isles of Scotland.

Product Description

About the Author

Simon Winchester was born and educated in England, has lived in Africa, Ireland, India and China, and now lives in US. He was a foreign correspondent for 30 years and now contributes to a variety of American and British magazines and newspapers. Hismost recent books have been the two international bestsellers, The Surgeon of Crowthorne and The Map that Changed the World. His new book, Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded is published in June 2002.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By Joseph Haschka HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In 1914, the globe was spanned by the British Empire, on which the sun truly never set. As a boy, I collected stamps, and I was in awe of the number of faraway and exotic places that featured the likeness of the British monarch on their issues. It was, perhaps, these colorful bits of paper, along with the tales of Robin Hood, Richard the Lionheart, and King Arthur that engendered in me a lasting love for and fascination with Great Britain. I've visited the mother island on more than a dozen occasions; I long to be there now. Simon Winchester's OUTPOSTS took me in a different direction - outward to the last vestiges of Empire.

British Indian Ocean Territory, Tristan da Cunha, Gibraltar, Ascension Island, St. Helena, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, and the Pitcairn Islands. These, minus Hong Kong - OUTPOSTS was published in 1985 - are now all that are left of the once proud imperial possessions. Simon visited them over a three year period, except the inaccessible Pitcairn, and tells us about his odyssey in this sterling travel narrative.

Winchester, a Brit himself, is ambiguous about the Empire. On one hand, he apparently feels that the Crown's dominions, protectorates, trustee states, mandated territories and colonies were better left to go their separate ways, if only for the sake of political correctness. On the other hand, he maintains that, of all the European colonial empires, Britain's was the one administered with the greatest degree of good intentions. And, Simon isn't above becoming sentimental, as on Tristan da Cunha, a dependency of St.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outposts 16 Oct 2005
Format:Paperback
Having visited some of the far-flung places mentioned in Outposts I was really floored by Winchester's style and prose: he brings these remote islands alive whilst telling a very readable, factual yet humorous tale of the inhabitants of Britain's remaining colonies, their lives and the daily issues they face.

Brilliantly written (his journalistic background readily apparent) and extremely captivating, Outposts is a wonderful insight into these remote patriots on their remote outcrops.

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 wondered why he bothered. TV presenter and housewife heart- throb Ben Fogle also attempts a work entitled The Teatime Islands. Although a brave start to his writing career, I believe him better suited to his Prince William impression whilst presenting Animal Thingy on TV, affable though he seems.

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, empire and history.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outposts 10 Sep 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
After holidaying in Mauritius this year, I came across the story of Diego Garcia and how the islanders were so badly treated by the British Government. Then amazingly I picked up Outposts in the bookshop and discovered that the first place mentioned in Simon Winchester's book was Diego Garcia. I had to buy it to find out more. If you only buy the book to find out more about this travesty of justice, then it is well worth it and I would recommend it on that alone. However the book mentions other far flung parts the remains of the British Empire and it is the smaller, lonelier places that capture the imagination - St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha, and Ascension Island. Thank you to Simon Winchester for a book that satisfied my curiosity about these places and awakened an interest in finding out more about peolpe and places off the beaten track.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
What remains of the British Empire today? `Outposts' takes a look at some of our last remaining rocks and islands which are scattered across the globe and which, for most of us anyway, we will probably never even visit.

`Outposts' is slightly dated having been originally published in the mid-eighties. It contains a now largely redundant chapter on Hong Kong which was ceded to the Chinese in 1997. Other references to old technology, customs and phrases also help to give the book an overall "dated" feel. But that being said; I still greatly enjoyed reading this book and discovering more about our remnant colonies.

Having an interest in the British Empire, I was aware that the places discussed in this book existed, but other than a quick browse on Wikipedia, I had never really studied these colonies in depth using a reputable source! I wanted a book which would take me on a tour of our last possessions, which would give me an idea on their current situation and place in the world; the view the colonists held of their "mother country" and finally, what the future held for these isolated places. I discovered `Outposts' when browsing for e-books and was immediately satisfied with my acquisition. This is the book I had been looking for and I couldn't wait to get stuck in.

Each colony has a designated chapter which describes the history, the geography and some of the local curiosities before culminating with a short outlook on the likely prospects of each place's future. The author writes in a wonderfully descriptive manner and captures each island's isolation from the rest of the world perfectly.
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