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Transit of Venus: Travels in the Pacific
     

Transit of Venus: Travels in the Pacific

by Julian Evans
 

With the potent myths of the Pacific Ocean in mind, Julian Evans journeys ever deeper into a world of gin-clear lagoons, palms, and sand, in search of both remnants of the fabulous kingdoms of the nineteenth-century European imagination and their twe

Overview

With the potent myths of the Pacific Ocean in mind, Julian Evans journeys ever deeper into a world of gin-clear lagoons, palms, and sand, in search of both remnants of the fabulous kingdoms of the nineteenth-century European imagination and their twe

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The ``noble savages'' of the islands of the South Pacific now have money and alcohol, military bases, atomic explosions and a good deal of Christianity. The British on Fiji, the French on New Caledonia and the Americans on the Marshalls have all remade these island paradises in their own images, according to Evans. In Suva, the Fiji capital, the author, a British journalist, walks down Victoria Parade past Albert Park, in a city that ``reeks of the London suburbs.'' (``What do you think we're developing the South Pacific for? So everyone can go shopping,'' a friend tells him.) In New Caledonia, the French are so insistently French that for a long time their navy was the only one in the world to use navigational charts based on the Paris meridian rather than the international standard, the Greenwich meridian. The Americans on the Marshalls Islands have made Kwajalein into a ``real nice . . . suburban trailer-park . . . a great place to bring up the kids,'' Traveling on a slow boat through the islands, Evans documents in sorrowful detail, interspersed with excellent historical background, the loss of innocence. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Enticed by photographs, memories of Australia, and a desire to search for solitude, Evans sets out to experience the islands of the South Pacific. Leaving Sidney by freighter, he journeys by whatever means available through New Caledonia, Figi, Western Samoa, and a variety of islands in the region. With a lack of time restraint and a personal fluidity of choice, he saunters from island to island and meets a colorful array of informative local acquaintances. Evans describes his adventures in this tropical vastness with candidness and clarity. His journey concludes with a visit to the U.S. Army Base in Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands, the site of the Missile Test Range. An obvious strength of the book is the brief but excellent history of the islands and the impact of various cultures upon it. This is a good introduction to the area and the people, places, and politics that make it unique. For travel collections.-- Jo-Anne Mary Benson, Osgoode, Ontario
Alice Joyce
When Evans set out to explore the South Seas, it was with an image of paradise intruded upon by U.S. Peacekeeper missiles. His travels took him across New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides), and Samoa to the ultimate destination of Bikini in the Marshall Islands, site of intense U.S. nuclear testing activity. By the time he visited Kili, where Bikini inhabitants had been relocated because of the contamination of their atoll, any remaining myths of idyllic scenery, innocent sexual bliss, or rapturous days of idle tranquility had long since been shattered. What emerges from the author's vivid recounting of contemporary life in the Pacific is richly textured with historical underpinnings. Evans' powers of observation combine with a stunning literacy to provide an often painfully rendered but remarkably coherent view of problems facing indigenous islanders today.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679416371
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/15/1992
Pages:
288

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