December 13 , 2009


How Islands Transform the World


Islands have been at the heart of our desires, and our fears, forever. *Island* tells the groundbreaking story of humans and islands, and islands and nature, from the beginning of time to the present. Drawing on history, literature, art, anthropology, biology, and earth science, *Island* explores the human settlement of islands-including the seafaring skills required to cross the seas-and describes in vivid detail the spectacular flora and fauna of islands as well as their earth-shattering geology. It shows that ever since humans have been traveling and telling tales, they have been fascinated by islands. Creation stories around the world speak of land rising out of the water, and there are many literary island encounters-from Noah to Prospero and Gulliver, and from Ulysses to Robinson Crusoe and the Count of Monte Cristo. In real life, too, sailors and settlers, explorers and scientists, pirates and artists, have all been drawn to islands. The story of islands is also the story of our planet, from its beginning as an island in space to the contemporary appearance and disappearance of islands in the cycles of climate change and seismic upheavals.

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