How Islands Transform the World

Book - 2013
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Ever since humans have been travelling and telling tales, we have been fascinated by islands. Creation stories around the world speak of land rising out of the water, of islands beginning on the backs of turtles or as a result of the ingenuity of birds. The tradition continues into the modern era: from Noah to Prospero and Gulliver, from Ulysses to Robinson Crusoe and Anne of Green Gables, islands have fuelled the dreams of our storytellers.

Much of what makes islands so compelling are the natural forces that shape them: geological processes that wrench land up from the ocean floor, evolutionary shifts that cause naked rock to bloom with unique flora and fauna. These forces too have inspired explorers, scientists, settlers, sailors, and artists.

J. Edward Chamberlin draws on history, literature, art, anthropology, biology, and geology, to create a compelling and accessible exploration of the impact islands have made on human history. He has also written a poignant and powerful reminder of who and where we are: castaways, on our own island in space.

Publisher: Toronto :, Cormorant Books,, 2013, ©2013.
ISBN: 9781770862937
Branch Call Number: 304. 23 CHA
Characteristics: xiv, 242 pages


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Jun 03, 2015

With a meandering, informative, and upbeat tone, this book describes islands literally, scientifically, and metaphorically.

Jul 22, 2013

I would have rated this book higher if there had not been so many pages with overly long sentences (53+words). The overuse of dashes and parentheses became annoying. That said, the book covers an interesting & diverse range of topics detailing the unique relationship between humans and islands. The inclusion of a few maps would greatly enhance the reading.


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Jun 22, 2013

this is a fascinating look at islands from several view points, biology, geology, myth and literature. It examines several islands in particular and the fascination they exert on us

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