Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire

( 13 )

Overview

Simon Winchester, struck by a sudden need to discover exactly what was left of the British Empire, set out across the globe to visit the far-flung islands that are all that remain of what once made Britain great. He traveled 100,000 miles back and forth, from Antarctica to the Caribbean, from the Mediterranean to the Far East, to capture a last glint of imperial glory.

His adventures in these distant and forgotten ends of the earth make compelling, often funny reading and tell a...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.33
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$14.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $8.55   
  • Used (9) from $1.99   
Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

Simon Winchester, struck by a sudden need to discover exactly what was left of the British Empire, set out across the globe to visit the far-flung islands that are all that remain of what once made Britain great. He traveled 100,000 miles back and forth, from Antarctica to the Caribbean, from the Mediterranean to the Far East, to capture a last glint of imperial glory.

His adventures in these distant and forgotten ends of the earth make compelling, often funny reading and tell a story most of us had thought was over: a tale of the last outposts in Britain's imperial career and those who keep the flag flying.

With a new introduction, this updated edition tells us what has happened to these extraordinary places while the author's been away.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060598617
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/15/2004
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 350,165
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of The Men Who United The States, as well as the New York Times bestselling books The Professor and the Madman, Atlantic, Krakatoa, Crack in the Edge and more.

Biography

One of the leading practitioners of the offbeat, narrative nonfiction genre The New York Times affectionately calls "cocktail-party science," Simon Winchester studied geology at Oxford, worked on offshore oil rigs, and traveled extensively before settling into a writing career. For twenty years, he worked as a foreign correspondent for the Guardian, augmenting his income by writing articles and well-written but little-read travel books. Then, an obscure footnote in a book he was reading for sheer recreation sparked the idea of a lifetime.

The book in question was Jonathon Green's Chasing the Sun: Dictionary Makers and the Dictionaries They Made, and the footnote read, "Readers will of course be familiar with the story of W.C. Minor, the convicted, deranged, American lunatic murderer, contributor to the OED." Immediately, Winchester knew he had stumbled on a real story, one filled with drama, intrigue, and human interest. Published in 1998, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Oxford English Dictionary was an overnight success, garnering rave reviews on both sides of the pond, and remained on The New York Times hardcover bestseller list for more than a year.

Fueled by curiosity, passion, and a journalist's instinct for what makes "good copy," Winchester has gone on to explore the obscure, arcane, and idiosyncratic in blockbusters like The Map that Changed the World, Krakatoa, and The Man Who Loved China. Coincidentally, his subjects have placed him squarely in the forefront of the new wave of nonfiction so popular at the start of the 21st century. In an interview with Atlantic Monthly, Winchester explained the phenomenon thusly: ""It shows, I think, that there is deep, deep down -- but underserved for a long time -- an eagerness for real stories, real narratives, about rich and interesting things. We -- writers, editors -- just ignored this, by passed this. Now we are tapping into it again."

Good To Know

Winchester once spent three months looking at whirlpools on assignment for Smithsonian magazine.

He once wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times to correct a factual error in an article about where the millennium would first hit land on the morning of Jan. 1, 2000. (It was the island of Tafahi, not the coral atoll Kirabati.)

He reportedly loves the words "butterfly" and "dawn."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      New York; Massachusetts; Scotland
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 28, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      M.A., St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, 1966
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Outposts

Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire
By Winchester, Simon

Perennial

ISBN: 0060598611

Chapter One

The Plan

Like most long journeys into the unknown, this one began with an idea -- an idea that was triggered by a strange story I read one wet Sunday afternoon in a recent early spring, on the front page of a London newspaper. It was all about the alleged 'invasion' of an island known as Southern Thule, which was said to be 10,000 miles away from England in chilly wastes of the Southern Ocean.

The island of Southern Thule is quite barren, windswept, bitterly cold, uninhabited and, to all intents and purposes, useless. The Admiralty's Antarctic Pilot says that it is part of an old sunken volcano, and is covered with ash and penguin guano. There are seals, a variety of petrels and a bank of kelp weed a few hundred yards offshore, especially around a small inlet called Ferguson Bay. Of other possible delights the Pilot is silent.

The central fact of this curious tale is that Southern Thule belongs now, and belonged at the time of the 'invasion', to Britain. It was, and is, a part of a British Crown colony -- one of the South Sandwich Islands, which are themselves dependencies of the Falkland Islands. Southern Thule was, indeed, part of the British Empire. It was given its name because it must have seemed to its first finders at very much the extreme end of the discoverable world.

Some time during the November of 1976 -- no one is certain of the exact date -- a party of fifty members of the Argentine Air Force landed on this remote British rock and, with neither notice, permission nor publicity, constructed a small military base. They built barracks, and a small concrete landing pad for their helicopters. They set up weather-recording machinery and a radio station. They built a plinth, and erected a flagpole, and they flew their flag -- the blue and white bandera of the Argentine Republic. So far as they and their commanders were concerned the island, hitherto British, was now an integral part -- de facto if not de jure -- of Argentina.

It was a month before the British Government discovered what had happened. Ham radio operators on the Falkland Islands, a thousand miles away to the west, heard chatter between Argentine naval vessels and the Thule air force detachment. On the orders of the Ministry of Defence the local Royal Naval guard ship -- HMS Endurance -- was sent down to investigate. Five days before Christmas a helicopter from the ship spotted the Argentinians, and the extraordinary news of what was at the very least an act of the most immense cheek, was flashed to London.

But what initially intrigued me about the story is that London did almost nothing about it. More than a year was to go by before word of the seizure was to leak out to the British public -- via the Sunday newspaper -- or to the British Parliament. The then Prime Minister, James Callaghan, admitted to a House of Commons that was by turns amused and outraged that yes, he had known all about the affair and that no, he was not planning to send in the Marines to dislodge the Argentinian trespassers. Patient negotiations would continue, he said, to try to persuade them to go away, and in the meantime the interests of regional serenity, diplomatic practice and protocols would be better served if everyone remained calm, and made light of the incident.

The Argentines remained on Southern Thule until six days after the Falklands War was ended, on 28th June 1982. The same HMS Endurance that had first sighted the men six years before, turned up with a recovery party. HMS Yarmouth, a frigate, dropped a salvo of shells on to a bluff not far from the Argentine base. A Royal Naval tug and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary stood by, giving the whole exercise a properly Imperial appearance. And the Argentines, outnumbered and outgunned, surrendered and handed over their weapons to the Royal Marines. The Union flag was hoisted, and everyone -- British victors and Argentine vanquished -- sailed away and left Southern Thule to a customarily lonely winter of gales, ice storms and blizzards.

The story did not quite end there. Six months later a passing British warship noticed, to general astonishment, that the Union flag had been taken down from the jackstaff and the blue-and-white Argentine flag run up in its place. Wary sailors clambered on to the island, finding it deserted, but noticed that whoever had taken the British flag down had folded it with commendable neatness and stuffed it under a nearby boulder. There was general agreement that the new invader was a wit, if nothing else.

The sailors' amusement was not matched back in London: a signal was sent to HMS Apollo ordering its men to destroy all buildings on Southern Thule, leaving none fit for prolonged habitation. Demolition crews moved in with plastic explosive, and by Christmas 1982 every barrack block and mess room and met station was reduced to a pile of concrete rubble.

Only a tiny refuge hut was left, stocked with rations, in case a British survey team should ever find itself benighted on the island. And to give such stranded men solace, a Bible, presented by the Scottish Commercial Travellers' Christian Union, was tucked in with the food. As a final act the helicopter crew from Endurance raised yet another Union flag, though since the halyards had been destroyed it could only flutter at half mast, where it possibly remains to this day, whipped by the freezing winds, to declare to all the world that this minute speck of worthless land is British, and that, as stated in the best-known of all British Imperial axioms, 'What we have, we hold.'

The story intrigued me, for one reason above all. I had thought to the extent that I had ever thought about the matter at all since schooldays -- that we had no longer had an Empire ...

Continues...

Excerpted from Outposts by Winchester, Simon Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii
1 The Plan 1
2 British Indian Ocean Territory and Diego Garcia 15
3 Tristan 55
4 Gibraltar 91
5 Ascension Island 119
6 St Helena 135
7 Hong Kong 165
8 Bermuda 203
9 The British West Indies 223
10 The Falkland Islands 277
11 Pitcairn and Other Territories 313
12 Some Reflections and Conclusions 327
Acknowledgements 355
Further Reading 359
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Good but....

    Anything by this author is certainly entertaining and well done. I have read all of his books and enjoyed them thoroughly, BUT in this one his anti-american slant is very evident. Good old England's empirical history isn't exactly something to rave about. Sorry I put money in your pocket on this one, Mr. Winchester.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2014

    You Have to be British

    There is a slight anti-American position in the initial writings. you have to admire a man who traveled as much as he did to get the information for this book but for the most part, the adventure is lost.
    I bought the book because of the cover. The phone booth is actually a fresh water shower cruisers can use in the British Virgin Islands. Unfortunately little is learned from his seemingly short time in those islands.
    Winchester is normally a five-star author....not this time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 15, 2014

    I purchased this book for two reasons; (1) Simon Winchester is

    I purchased this book for two reasons; (1) Simon Winchester is one of the best authors I have read. His book on Krakatoa out-classed any other book I've read to date. (2) The photo on the cover is not where you think it may be. In fact, I have showered inside the phone booth in the British Virgin Islands and yet, it's not even mentioned in the book.
    As with other viewers, there is a definite anti-American slant to this book even though he now resides in the United States. The book is no comical and really, especially toward the end gets downright boring. I kept in mind that this was written in the 80's and early 90's but things have changed a much of what was written then is old news now and actually is no longer pertinent. I am a huge fan of Simon Winchester, but this book does not do his brilliance any justice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2008

    Flowing

    This book has a terrific flow. Of all the travel books I have read, this book gave me the most incentive to continue reading after the completion of a chapter, etc. I honestly didn't think a load of far-flung islands could be this intriguing, but honestly, Winchester makes them. Historical context, humor, its all there.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)