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Charity Of Nations
     

Charity Of Nations

by Shannon Wall
 
In 1997, journalist Barbara Crossette set off on a journey of several months to visit Asia's hill stations, the small European-built hill towns where colonials went to escape the tropical climate and where modern-day Asians now build luxury resorts. Through Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, she went in search of the stories the

Overview

In 1997, journalist Barbara Crossette set off on a journey of several months to visit Asia's hill stations, the small European-built hill towns where colonials went to escape the tropical climate and where modern-day Asians now build luxury resorts. Through Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, she went in search of the stories the hill stations offer about the region's past and present. Just as the spaces colonial rulers carved out for themselves tell us much about the colonizers' experience of their locale, so the fate of these hilly refuges in the postcolonial era provide a window on contemporary culture and society. Weaving together scholarly research, interviews, and her own keen observations, Crossette uses the hill stations as a lens through which to explore the complex history and legacy of colonialism.

Editorial Reviews

Alexander Frater
The Great Hill Stations of Asia should be required reading for anyone contemplating an Asian journey; the region's history, politics, religion, and economics are brilliantly summarized in a series of crisp, scholarly briefings....surprising, entertaining and elegantly written... -- New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
Created nearly two centuries ago by Europeans in Southeast Asia as refuges for their health, relaxation, and even sanity, the "hill stations" have become today's popular hotels and golf courses for international tourists. Travel writer Crossette (New York Times UN bureau chief; So Close to Heaven, Knopf, 1995) has faithfully recorded the significant changes after revisiting the former colonies of Asia, where she had lived for a decade. She begins her book with the fascinating chapter "How It All Began," then takes us on her several-months' journey to Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The absence of any conclusion makes this writing more a work of travel reporting than a traditional book. Photos of the hill stations complement the vivid description. Highly recommended for larger public libraries, East Asia collections in academic libraries, and armchair travelers.Steven Lin, American Samoa Community Coll., Pago
Booknews
UN bureau chief Crossette examines the hill station refuges used by generations of European and American colonials in Asia to combat "tropical fatigue." In 1997, she toured these oases being rediscovered by Asians for their history and tourist potential from the Philippines to Pakistan. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
New York Times correspondent Crossette's tour of colonial hill towns is sharp, rooted in historical context, and smartly delineated. Ootacamund, Darjeeling, Simla, Murree, Dehra Dunþall are hill stations, draped like a high-altitude swag from Pakistan to Indonesia, relics of a colonial past that hungered for relief from summer heat and lowland disease, that yearned for a touch of home, for its architecture and institutions: club and church and library, brewery and boarding school and adultery. Curious as to how the hill stations were faring, Crossette visited 19 of them. Here she traces their histories, draws from a rich literature, interviews long-time residents, tenders her own observations as a journalist who has witnessed hill-town transformationsþand the rebellions and environmental confrontations accompanying themþover the last few decades. There is promiscuous Mussoorie, "created for pleasure, not work," and down-on-its-luck Darjeeling; she calls upon egalitarian Kodaikanal, a product of American missionaries in the Palni Hills of India, where snobbery and rank were irrelevant, and she hies to capacious Maymyo in Myanmar (which Crossette persists in calling Burma); then to the east, to the Malaysian hill towns, with Cameron Highlands soldiering on with its tidy atmospherics, a freeze-frame of times long gone. She also visits Dutch Indonesian stationsþBogor, Bukittinggi, Brastagi, each brooding and melancholic, pervaded by a "potentially violent unease" that Crossette finds marking current Indonesian societyþand the French town in Dalat, its villas now being faithfully restored. Lastly, it is to doomed Baguio in the Philippines, a Poconos-styledAmerican construct, now destined to become a golf resort. Crossette's writing is quietly evocative, her research sprawling, her opinions right on the surface. She is mesmerized by hill towns and she makes their magic palpable. (10 illustrations)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465009640
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
06/28/1973
Pages:
268

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