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Comentario: Edition: Fifth Printing; Used: Good/No jacket; 250 pages. Illustrated in monochrome. Posted within 1 working day 1st class to UK, delivery aim 1 day after posting, Robust packaging. Airmail worldwide
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A PATTERN OF ISLANDS. (Inglés) Tapa dura – 1 ene 1953

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Tapa dura, 1 ene 1953
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Opiniones de clientes más útiles en (beta) 3.9 de un máximo de 5 estrellas 10 opiniones
16 de 16 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas An Entertaining Pattern 29 de agosto de 2011
Por Malcolm Cameron - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa blanda Compra verificada
A Pattern of Islands by Arthur Grimble

Various tales from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands are recalled by Arthur Grimble commencing with his cadetship at the end of 1913. In a witty, honest, self-depreciating style this book makes light insightful reading ... "nobody could be always right, except an Englishman ... The Almighty was beyond doubt Anglo Saxon".

In London, his job interview commenced with "Let us see ... yes ... let us go on a voyage of discovery together ... Where precisely are the Gilbert and Ellice islands? If you will believe me, I have often been curious to know". The interview continued with a discussion about insisting "upon the dominion of romance, not the romance of dominion" and was ultimately successful in part because he was the only candidate to ask for the job.

Originally published in 1952, the book was luckily part of my English literature course in 1959 - an enlightened relief from the standard Charles Dickens fare. Its impression remained to 2011 as I remembered his anecdotes such as seeing the slitting of the belly of an attacking shark "rip itself open like a zip-fastener, discharging blood and guts"; the catching of a giant octopus allowing himself to be used as bait; and his cure of a French missionary by faith and lies. (Having administered the last morphine tablets with a rusty hypodermic syringe he injected pure water subsequently.) My impression resulted from the insight Grimble relates as he faced novel situations alone, and his thoughts while overcoming his feeling of lack of preparation. Plus the honest effort Grimble put into learning the local language and becoming an expert on the islands.

There is a kaleidoscope of topics covering geography, culture, traditions, phosphate mining, copra production, religion, administration - always entertaining never encyclopedic. Grimble gives the case for "Pax Britannica" but combining existing beliefs with Christianity - "A tree without roots dies, but new grafts thrive on a trunk that stands deep-rooted in the soil of its homeland".

The return of the book is to be welcomed, as is the information about these islands, now the two island nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu since independence in 1979 and 1978. Times have changed of course. Kiribati is expected to be the first country in which all land territory disappears due to global warming and, in the book, when a native pastor "... ordained that a wave should arise to the height of the Government's flagstaff and sweep away the Flag" it was not identified with a tsunami.

Malcolm Cameron
29 August 2011
4 de 4 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Delightful and insightful memoir... 23 de agosto de 2013
Por HMS Warspite - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa blanda Compra verificada
In late 1913, the young and newly-married Arthur Grimble was nominated as a cadet administrator for the Colonial Office, at a time when the British Empire still wrapped itself, and English values, around the world. Grimble was posted to the distant Gilbert Islands in the Western Pacific Ocean, to a place where a thin veneer of British ways barely papered over the native culture of the islanders.

Such is the premise of "A Pattern of Islands", Grimble's delightful memoir of his first overseas tour. As the representative of a distant government in London, Grimble found himself thrust into the middle of a complex and very different society of fishermen, with well-defined traditions for civility, intermural warfare, poetry and even sorcery. Fortunately for the reader, Grimble was an observant and skilled writer. With typical British understatement, respect, and humor, he captures a fascinating portrait of the people he came to administer. The result is a unique cultural history from the turn of the last century.

Grimble was willing to try anything, from experimenting with explosives in Government House to acting as bait for the trapping of a rather large octopus to rescuing a mentally unbalanced man from an unhappy crowd. "A Pattern of Islands" is highly recommended as an excellent read.
8 de 8 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas How a book can shape your life 30 de noviembre de 2013
Por anthro - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa dura Compra verificada
This is an amazing early ethnographic account of life in the South Pacific Gilbert Islands. Starts out like a comedy of all the ways a young district commissioner was judged as naïve and inept by his seniors and by the islanders. But moves to a deeper study of island culture. I read this book sixty years ago and remembered it for his experiences with fishing for a giant octopus. this time I found amazing scenes of a shaman like islander calling in the dolphins and how he endured tattooing so as to be admitted as a member of a cla.. His best teacher is a young island girl Moves like clouds. Beautifully written, honest portrayal of colonial administration, and scenes of community gatherings, ways of island navigators, tales from old mythology including creation myths. It was this book that made me want to travel to distant tropical islands and see the world. A book that led me eventually to becoming an antghropologist..
4 de 5 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas A delight 30 de agosto de 2013
Por J.Brynford-Jones - Publicado en
Formato: Versión Kindle Compra verificada
It is feel good, thought provoking, engaging, historically fascinating and, on occasion, guffaw funny. I first read it in 1965 and keep going back; it is that good.
3.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Interesting reading despite problematic elements 2 de mayo de 2016
Por E. Smiley - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa blanda
It is not easy to find a book set in Kiribati, a country whose literary presence seems limited to white men's expat memoirs. Within that category, this appears to be the book based on the greatest experience of the islands and their people: Arthur Grimble worked as a British colonial officer in what were then known as the Gilbert Islands for about 20 years, the first six (1914 – 1920) of which are covered in this book. And whatever else can be said of him, he was clearly fascinated by local culture and prepared to respect the people he encountered. I doubt many colonial officers were offered adoption into a local tribe, much less proved themselves by memorizing lineages and submitting to painful tattooing.

This is entertaining reading, though a bit slower going than I expected. Grimble begins the book with the story of his becoming a cadet, but once he is working on remote islands we get a lot of stories about the culture, mixing dramatic events and everyday life (everyday life may involve fighting tiger sharks). There’s also a fair bit about myth, religion and magic; Grimble claims not to believe in magic but tells several stories for which it’s the only explanation. It is interesting material, told in a pleasant, self-deprecating tone, and so makes for an enjoyable read on the whole. There are some real gems here, such as the story in which the author becomes human bait in an octopus hunt, and another in which an island is upended by religious fervor that turns it into a short-lived doomsday cult.

That said, this is a memoir by a British colonial officer, published in the 1950s after the author’s retirement, so yes, it is extremely dated. Grimble, unsurprisingly, supports colonialism. That’s easier to overlook here than it would likely be from most former officers, given that the system didn’t produce conflict in Kiribati, a remote island nation with few resources and a tiny British administration that, for the most part, seems to have worked alongside the local government. But it is evident in his writing about Ocean Island (Banaba), which did have a natural resource – phosphate – which the British mined to the point of rendering the island uninhabitable. Grimble opines that this was the right decision because it created so much fertilizer for farms in other countries, and that the British administrators were commendable because they set aside money for the resettlement of the locals on another island once their own was destroyed. One doubts the Banabans’ views would be quite so rosy.

Also, there is this little gem, following an incident in which Grimble forcibly prevents his cook from beating his wife to death with a stick: “The only thing that cheers me about this story is that the thrashing Mareve got did her a lot of good. It sounds all wrong, but it is a fact. She never resumed her nagging of Biribo: she was scared stiff of him; and from that time on there was shining peace in the back premises.” Happily ever after, is it? Ouch.

That said, sometimes works with problematic elements provide the most authentic picture of bygone times; that doesn’t mean we should excuse the problems, but that a book can be worth reading regardless. This one provides a great portrait of a culture, and the stories of Grimble’s experiences on the islands show a humility that makes them – with the exceptions mentioned above – palatable for the modern reader. This is not an easy book to find, but it's worth the read if you do encounter it.

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