The Arch of Kerguelen: Voyage to the Islands of Desolation

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The Kerguelens - isolated French islands in the southern Indian Ocean - were the home of the Arch of Kerguelen, a 1,000-foot-tall stone vault that had confounded navigators for centuries. Jean-Paul Kauffmann finds poetry in the isolation and strangely serene beauty of this land far from the hustle of "civilized" life, where the vast ocean dominates, where the wind reigns and solitude is interrupted only by animals scrambling in the windswept fields by the graves of those who ...

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New York, NY 2000 Hard cover First Printing August 2000/First Printing by Print Line. New in new dust jacket. Excellent Condition with No rips, tears, creases or markings. First ... edition. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 288 p. Audience: General/trade. First Published in France in 1993; Shrink-Wrapped. Tracking. Read more Show Less

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Overview

The Kerguelens - isolated French islands in the southern Indian Ocean - were the home of the Arch of Kerguelen, a 1,000-foot-tall stone vault that had confounded navigators for centuries. Jean-Paul Kauffmann finds poetry in the isolation and strangely serene beauty of this land far from the hustle of "civilized" life, where the vast ocean dominates, where the wind reigns and solitude is interrupted only by animals scrambling in the windswept fields by the graves of those who journeyed there before.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Kerguelens are little-known and extremely isolated islands located in the Indian Ocean between Australia and Africa. French journalist Kauffmann, author of The Black Room at Longwood, a National Book Critics Circle Award nominee, was first intrigued by the islands in his childhood when he read the story of the Arch of Kerguelen and its discoverer, and his modern-day journey to the "islands of desolation" forms the framework for his book. Part personal exploration, part historical narrative, Kauffmann's account takes us to the region where most commercial ventures and attempts at agricultural colonization have failed because of the islands' uninhabitable environment. The islands, which were once visited by Captain Cook, whalers, and the German Navy in World War II, are today used by the French for geophysical research and monitoring. Kauffmann's obsession with seeing the monolithic Arch of Kerguelen at Christmas harbor colors his journey and provides a bittersweet end to his adventure. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with large travel collections.--Janet Ross, Sparks Branch Lib., NV Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
This pensive account of journalist Kauffmann's trip to the remote Kerguelen Islands in 1991 embodies the French territory's history as well as its gloomy ambience. Situated 3,000 miles southeast of Australia and claimed in 1772 by Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen, the windy archipelago captured the Enlightenment's imagination with its towering basalt castles and surging seas. In reality, Kauffmann found, it's one of the most lonely points on the globe. Kauffmann is also the author of . Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics
The author makes a pilgrimage to the islands in the southern Indian Ocean which have been called the most desolate on earth since their discovery in 1772. His travelogue, The Arch Of Kerguelen, explores the islands, their wildlife, and their history in an intriguing study.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568581682
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.87 (w) x 8.59 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Part 1 "His Majesty seemed satisfied..." 1
Part 2 The Sheet Anchor 55
Part 3 Port Jeanne d'Arc 101
Part 4 Christmas Harbor 159
Endnotes 201
Bibliography 205
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