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Island at the End of the World: The Turbulent History of Easter Island Hardcover – 1 Aug 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (1 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861892454
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861892454
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,151,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Many books about Easter Island are superficial fluff. . . . There is no such flummery in Steven Fischer's new book. As befits the head of the Institute of Polynesian Languages and Literatures in Auckland, New Zealand, he has produced a scholarly and readable account of the island's turbulent history. . . . Mr Fischer tells this long and complicated tale clearly, precisely and sympathetically. . . . A fascinating and highly readable history of one of the most exotic islands on earth."--The Economist

"Fischer has produced an academic work. . . that chips away at the distorting varnish of mysticism that has surrounded the island in recent times. There is a moving drama in his charting of a remarkable community that has lost its cultural identity and faces a uniquely challenging future." -- Kate Colquhoun "The Daily Telegraph" (05/28/2005)

"Fischer''s fluent narrative reveals how smallness, isolation, and a fragile environment have shaped the history of this tiny community. . . . Its strength lies equally in the author''s sensitive micro-study approach and its subject matter. Above all, it deserves a wide readership because Easter Island still presents a global warning about the imperative of environmental sustainability."--"American Historical Review" --Philippa Mein Smith"American Historical Review" (04/01/2006)

"Fischer's fluent narrative reveals how smallness, isolation, and a fragile environment have shaped the history of this tiny community. . . . Its strength lies equally in the author's sensitive micro-study approach and its subject matter. Above all, it deserves a wide readership because Easter Island still presents a global warning about the imperative of environmental sustainability."--Philippa Mein Smith"American Historical Review" (04/01/2006)

Synopsis

Famed for its breathtaking isolation, Easter Island was a verdant South-Sea idyll when a small canoeful of Polynesians arrived in c. ad 700. Centuries later the island's statues were famous throughout the world. This book presents, for the first time in the English language, the history of Easter Island told by a writer who is intimately familiar with the island, its people and their extraordinary story. When voyaging in the South Pacific became far less widespread around 1500, Easter Islanders became stranded on their desert-like isle, and were forced to adapt to survive. The first European visitors, in 1722, encountered a people thriving in total isolation, surrounded by huge architectural platforms of fitted stones topped by hundreds of monolithic busts. Subsequent intruders brought trade, disease, violence, and the Easter Islanders adapted to this change, too, through cultural re-invention: new leaders, new rituals, new gods.

Steven Roger Fischer relates the compelling history of this unique region: how wars, smallpox and the Great Death decimated the island, how Catholic missionaries arrived in 1866 to relieve the suffering of the dying people, and how a despotic Frenchman claimed the island for himself, but was then killed by the remaining islanders - a population then of only 111. The author also examines the modern history of the island, and its colonization and annexation by Chile. He relates the peaceful but insistent civil rights movement in 1964-65 whereby the Rapanui people were granted citizenship and could move freely about their island again for the first time in 70 years. Today, the population has increased, as has tourism of the island - from 2,000 visitors in 1991 to 20,000 in 2001 - which continues to be managed by the Rapanui themselves. Foreign interest in Easter Island has never been so keen, for the majestic archaeological endowments of the island is still one of Earth's most impressive. This book is a much-needed history of this little-known but remarkable island.

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15 January 2017
Format: Paperback
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6 January 2012
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22 October 2009
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
s. berger
4.0 out of 5 starsunusual
16 May 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
John McLaurin
5.0 out of 5 starsPerfect Overview - Read this first!
17 August 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mike
5.0 out of 5 starsInformative and thoughtful
25 February 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
William E. Conway
4.0 out of 5 starsEaster Island in person
4 November 2007 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
3 people found this helpful.
Seth J. Frantzman
5.0 out of 5 starsMost recent account of the island
19 August 2005 - Published on Amazon.com
7 people found this helpful.

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