Islands : from Atlantis to Zanzibar /
Steven Roger Fischer.
London : Reaktion Books, c2012.
336 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
178023032X (hbk.), 9781780230320 (hbk.)
More Details
London : Reaktion Books, c2012.
178023032X (hbk.)
9781780230320 (hbk.)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 321-326) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-07-01:
Fischer (formerly, Institute of Polynesian Languages and Literatures, New Zealand; Island at the End of the World, 2005) asserts that islands, large and small, have been and remain the co-enablers of planetary and human evolution. Undertaking a systematic study of islands, he proposes that islands are cultural, geological, and biological laboratories for both the planet and civilization in general. The text is divided into nine chapters that present a genealogy of the centrality of islands to terrestrial history. The author examines islands within the contexts of geological formation; biological diversity; human origins and proliferation; early modern politico-economic development, exploitation, and the emergence of civilization; modernity's cultural explorations and expansion; and psychosocial organization in contemporary society. He concludes his examination by proffering that, as geological formations and biological laboratories, islands are straightforward to catalog. Nevertheless, as cultural places and spaces, islands represent the first and last frontier of human existence and organization; indeed, to comprehend the complexity of that which is human, one must endeavor to recognize the enduring significance and necessity of islands. A broad, insightful exploration of the discursive nature of islands. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers. H. Doss Wilbur Wright College, City Colleges of Chicago
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Choice, July 2013
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Bowker Data Service Summary
Island expert and long-time island-dweller Fischer reveals how since time began islands have been one of the primary birthplaces for plants, animals, and proto-humans. He shows how these islets and eyots fostered our species, Homo sapiens, who then exploited these habitats as stepping-stones to global dominion.
Main Description
When Lost 'sOceanic Airlines Flight 815 crashed, the survivors found themselves on a seemingly deserted island. In Defoe's novel, Robinson Crusoe spends twenty-eight years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, while in the movie Castaway Tom Hanks survives over four years on a South Pacific island. And Jurassic Park kept its dinosaur population confined to an island off the coast of Central America. Islands often find themselves at the center of imagined worlds, secluded and sometimes mystical locales filled with strange creatures and savage populations. The cannibals, raptors, and smoke monsters that exist on the islands of popular culture aside, the more than one million islands and islets on the planet are indeed small , geological, biological, and cultural laboratories. From Britain to Japan, from the Galapagos to Manhattan, this book roams the planet to provide the first global introduction to these waterlocked landforms. Longtime island dweller Steven Roger Fischer shows that, since time began, islands have been one of the primary birthplaces for plants, animals, and proto-humans. These eyots of stone and sand-whether in ocean, lake, or river-fostered the human race, and Fischer recounts how humanity then exploited these remarkable habitats as stepping stones to global dominion. He explores island economics, warfare, and politics, and he examines the role they have played in literature, art and psychology. At the same time, he sparks our imagination with visions of islands-from Atlantis to Tahiti, Treasure Island to Hawaii. Ultimately, he reveals, these isolated mini-worlds are a measure of humankind itself. An engaging account of the islets that have enriched, lured, terrified, and inspired us, Islands shines new light on these cradles of earth-and human-history.
Main Description
Our planet hosts over a million islands. From Britain to Japan, Mauritius to Manhattan, they are small living geological, biological and cultural laboratories. Ranging from the ancient continents to the accretions of an ocean sandbank, they can lie in the sea, in a river, in a lake. Some are entire countries: Madagascar, Jamaica, Iceland. Other countries are multiple large islands: Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand. Islands can feature two or more nations like Borneo, or Hispaniola. Some islands sustain one crofter’s hut; others host Earth’s largest metropolises: New York, Singapore, Hong Kong. Hundreds have been notorious penal colonies; a refreshing number are now wildlife refuges. Whether colossal or compact, Islands is the first global introduction to these ‘lands surrounded by liquid’. Historian, linguist, philologist, island expert and long-time island-dweller Steven Roger Fischer reveals how since time began islands have been one of the primary birthplaces for plants, animals and proto-humans. He shows how these same islets and eyots of stone and sand fostered our species, Homo sapiens, who then exploited these remarkable habitats as stepping-stones to global dominion. Seeding our imagination from Atlantis to Tahiti, from Treasure Island to Jurassic Park , islands have cradled and enriched, thrilled and lured, terrified and inspired. Encompassing many aspects of geology, biology and culture, from island economics, warfare and politics to literature, art and psychology, Islands chronicles how these isolated mini-worlds are, ultimately, a measure of human­kind itself.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. 6
of Stone and Sandp. 8
of Ferns and Feathersp. 41
of First Footprintsp. 75
of Tin and Tansp. 132
of First Nationsp. 165
of Moons and Sixpencep. 197
of Palettes and Pipesp. 224
of the Mindp. 249
The Last Islep. 276
Referencesp. 307
Select Bibliographyp. 321
Acknowledgementsp. 327
Photo Acknowledgementsp. 328
Indexp. 329
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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