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February 06 , 2011

Island on the Edge of the World

The Story of St Kilda


For more than 2000 years the people of St Kilda remained remote from the world. Its society was viable, even Utopian; but in the nineteenth century the island was discovered by missionaries, do-gooders and tourists, who brought money, disease and despotism. St Kildan culture gradually disintegrated and in 1930 the few remaining islanders asked to be evacuated. The destruction of the St Kildan culture is a microcosm of a process which is still taking place, often on a much larger scale, all over the world. Island on the Edge of the World is a moving account of human endeavour, of success and failure in the unending struggle between man and nature for coexistence. ‘What the St Kildan story, as told by Maclean, did for me was to reawaken my awe at the strangeness of the world.’ Will Self ‘A story like a marvellous pebble, wet from the sea, strange and comic like all things out of step with time, sad as the old songs the women sang, splendidly told...’ Sunday Times ‘Charles Maclean is an excellent writer...he describes the story of St Kilda with powerful compassion.’ Magnus Magnusson

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