LEIGH FORBES: Books of all Sorts

Islands Beyond the Horizon: The Life of Twenty of the World’s Most Remote Places

by Roger Lovegrove.

I found this a fascinating read. Lovegrove takes the reader to “…twenty of the world’s most remote places.” Some of these you’ll have probably heard of (Tristan da Cunha, St Kilda, South Georgia), but others you won’t have ever known existed (Wrangel Island, Solovetski Islands, Chinijo Archipelago).

In some places the book is a little repetitive (he explains the introduction of rats several times), and I was sometimes left confused about how big a particular island was (having to work out its size from clues in the text – it would have been tremendously helpful to have more consistent introductory data at the start of each chapter: size, highest point, population, etc.), but none of this detracted from my overall enjoyment.

The book leans heavily towards Atlantic islands (which make up 55% of those featured), birdlife, and environmental damage, but the latter subjects are only to be expected from of book about remote islands. There is also a lot about geology, other flora and fauna, human history, endeavour, and current habitation, along with lovely descriptions of conservation and recovering ecologies.

I loved this book, and recommend it for anyone (particularly naturalists/birdwatchers) interested in the world’s more isolated islands.


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