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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent update to a true classic
This new revised edition of The Life and Death of St Kilda is an excellent read. As a fan of the previous edition I was much impressed by the updated information which provides additional background to the original text, as well as bringing the reader up to date with more recent developments. Tom Steel evocatively brings to life the human story of St Kilda and the book...
Published on 27 Oct. 2011 by Marek

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, but overly romanticized
The story of this island and its people is truly fascinating, and Tom Steel writes very well. I agree with many other reviewers that some parts go into repetitive detail, and other parts are rather sketchy, but I suppose there was limited information in many areas. The aspect that bothered me most, however, is the romanticized view of the life on St. Kilda - the idea that...
Published 8 months ago by Casey


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent update to a true classic, 27 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The Life and Death of St. Kilda (Paperback)
This new revised edition of The Life and Death of St Kilda is an excellent read. As a fan of the previous edition I was much impressed by the updated information which provides additional background to the original text, as well as bringing the reader up to date with more recent developments. Tom Steel evocatively brings to life the human story of St Kilda and the book appropriately challenges the reader to weigh up the pros and cons of the major decisions that were taken. This book is a great read and it's well illustrated with historic photos. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Extremes, 19 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: The Life and Death of St. Kilda (Paperback)
This is a biography of extremes - extreme setting, extreme weather, extreme hardship and an extreme people who were eventually defeated by it all. The St. Kildans, inhabiting the most westerly part of the UK, 100 miles from their nearest neighbours in the middle of the Atlantic, lived on oily, semi-raw sea birds which required scaling extreme peaks to catch, dodging up to 140 mph winds and waves which swept over the tops of the nearby stacs where the birds nested.
The often half starved, bare foot island children who survived shared living space in the tiny dwellings with their animals in winter while the parents wove shawls and blankets for the feudal Lord who was the owner of the island. They spoke their own Gaelic dialect, making communication difficult until the Christian missionaries started a school.
The late Tom Steel writes a lively, often heartbreaking account, which does not end when the last of the islanders were split up and evacuated (at their own expence!) to the mainland. This version was updated recently to follow events on the island since the inhabitants left. It is enthralling, up-put-downable and left this reader just a little obsessed with St. Kilda!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Life and Death of St. Kilda, 21 May 2014
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Life and Death of St. Kilda (Paperback)
I read a novel set in St Kilda, Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg, and was fascinated by the author’s view of life on St Kilda (in the novel set in 1830, a time of cultural and religious turmoil for the islanders and their long-held lifestyle). So I was eager to read more of St Kilda itself.

First published in 1965, this book was written thirty-five years since the evacuation of the island in 1930, and the publication for the National Trust of Scotland seeks to put the St Kildan way of life and the end of that life in 1930 into their historical perspective. The grainy black and white photos (including a photo of a boy taken in the very first photograph on St Kilda, in 1860) evoke a real sense of history and culture that is difficult to understand from the perspective of our ‘modern’ way of life. Quite when people first populated St Kilda is lost in the mist of time, but the sad end of life on St Kilda came when the breakdown of isolation meant the breakdown of independence and the power to survive. A declining population and a dreadful infantile mortality, the inability of the St Kildas to control communication with the mainland, a loss of markets for the output of the gannet, fulmar and puffin products they harvested and exported, and an increase in dependence on imported products; all contributed to the eventual and inevitable final evacuation of St Kilda, and the loss of the culture and history of the St Kildans.

This is a remarkably interesting and informative book; the author has charted the historical times and lives of the St Kildans, adding to such historical facts as are available with excerpts from writings of visitors to the islands over the centuries. The author has in a businesslike and non-judgemental way plotted the eventual downfall of the way of life carried out for centuries on St Kilda. Definitely a recommended read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 11 Sept. 2012
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Having had the pleasure of watching a TV programme about St Kilda, I purchased this book. From the very first page I was spellbound. Tom writes with an easy style and very pleasant tempo and as a consequence of reading this excellent book intend to visit St Kilda one day (with luck!). Thank you Tom Steel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story of an island recently visited, 30 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Life and Death of St. Kilda (Paperback)
Having recently visited St.Kilda I needed to know about the history of it, and the style of life of the inhabitants. This book satisfied all those desires and had me enthralled from the moment I opened it up. The black and white photos set the scene and confirmed the aura of mystery that I felt while there. The way of life on this island was unique and they had inherited their own culture. The moment i stepped on the jetty I felt that place was something on the edge of the world, not to be found elsewhere. It was moving to notice that we all spoke in hushed tones while walking through the Village and especially in the grave yard. I have in the meanwhile read a couple of other books about this special place and will remain full of admiration for the inhabitants for their way of life. To be recommended for all would be visitors - not an easy place to get to but there are the ways and means. And thanks to Amazon for their speedy delivery of the book and for others that followed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bet the puffins were relieved, 10 Dec. 2014
This review is from: The Life and Death of St. Kilda (Paperback)
As well as its website incarnation, I'm also rather keen on the jungle version of the amazon. Yes, yes there are all the trees, I get it. Personally I find the tribals to be my axis of interest, a peoples so nondisturbed by technology that most still communicate by parrot. But here's a fact YOU will be surprised to discover. There was a time when one needn't travel all the way to the beaches of Rio to see primitive man. In living memory Scotland was home to its own unique band of troglodytes. Of course, I am talking about them St Kilders.

If St Kilda was alive today, he'd surely be turning in his grave reading this sad account of the lonely community's demise. A noble island people who survived for millions of years eating nothing but puffins, ultimately proved unable to adapt to the cyber challenges posed by a modern e-globe. I shed a tear myself thinking of the departing St Kildite children, looking on with feathers still in their mouths, as their former home slipped over the liquid horizon. Benji (my dog) was so upset by the saga that he refused to eat his supper for a whole week - he did eat some socks though.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, but overly romanticized, 3 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The Life and Death of St. Kilda (Paperback)
The story of this island and its people is truly fascinating, and Tom Steel writes very well. I agree with many other reviewers that some parts go into repetitive detail, and other parts are rather sketchy, but I suppose there was limited information in many areas. The aspect that bothered me most, however, is the romanticized view of the life on St. Kilda - the idea that the islanders lived "independently" until the late 19th century, when their lives were "ruined" by contact with the outside world. The information in this book (and in other books) make clear that the islanders were almost completely dependent on the owner of the island and other "outsiders" for most of the items that contributed to their survival. So the overall viewpoint in this book I find contradictory.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Life & Death of St.Kilda by Tom Steel, 16 May 2012
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This review is from: The Life and Death of St. Kilda (Paperback)
Having had the good fortune to visit St. kilda in 2007, Tom Steel's Book brought back memories of those amazing islands and the way of life for those living on St.Kilda.

It also answered some of the questions that the visit had left with me.

"A must read" for those that have ever been, or contemplate going, to these fascinating group of islands,
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bought twice, 18 Jun. 2014
By 
A. Feruglio Dal Dan "afdd" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought this during a trip to Scotland many years ago, and I found it a moving and entrancing read. A small pocket of humanity living on a bare rock in the middle of nowhere, it charts their hard lives and their ultimate decision to leave the island and move to the mainland, and the heartache and regret the experienced. The photos are in black and white but you can feel the majesty and ruthlessness of the landscape and the warmth, resorcefulness, and determination of the lives that clang to it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating history, 31 Mar. 2014
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knew nothing much about st. Kilda so found it surprising and interesting. read prior to a planned trip there but well worth a read in its own right.
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The Life and Death of St. Kilda
The Life and Death of St. Kilda by Tom Steel (Paperback - 18 Aug. 2011)
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