Long frequented by pirates and haunted by pariahs, Baja California has become a favorite destination for whale watchers, hikers, and scuba divers. For Bruce Berger it has been more. In Almost an Island, he takes readers beyond the Baja of guidebooks and offers a wildly entertaining look at the real Baja California.
Eight hundred miles long, Baja California is the remotest region of the Sonoran desert, a land of volcanic cliffs, glistening beaches, fantastical boojum trees, and some of the greatest primitive murals in the Western Hemisphere. In Almost an Island, Berger recounts tales from his three decades in this extraordinary place, enriching his account with the peninsula's history, its politics, and its probable future—rendering a striking panorama of this land so close to the United States, so famous, and so little known.
Readers will meet a cast of characters as eccentric as the place itself: Brandy, who ranges the desert in a sand buggy while breathing from an oxygen tank; Katie, the chanteuse; nuns illegally raising pigs. They will encounter the tourist madness of a total eclipse, the story of the heir to an oasis, a musical Mata Hari, rare pronghorn antelope, and a pet tarantula. In prose as glittering as this desert engulfed by the sea, Almost an Island is a fascinating journey into the human heart of a spectacular land.
A First Hand Contemporary Account of the Guadalcanal Campaign
“This is the real story, soberly, honestly, authoritatively told.”—New York Times
“This is a tale of dogged resistance, courage and sacrifice that will remain imperishable in our history.” —Weekly Book Review
In August 1942, U.S. Marines landed on the island of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific and defeated Japanese forces for the first time, turning the tide of World War II against Japan. Written by a historian who fought alongside his fellow Marines for the entire four-month campaign, The Island is an indispensable story of this hard-fought victory.
By February 1862 Confederate forces in Kentucky and Tennessee were falling back in disorder. Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River fell to combined land and naval forces under Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant and Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote. These losses necessitated the abandonment of the Rebel stronghold of Columbus, Kentucky. The entire upper Mississippi Valley lay open to Federal invasion. Toward that end, a new Union army under Major General John Pope began organizing at Commerce, Missouri.
Confederate Major General John P. McCown was sent to plug the breach by fortifying Island No. 10, a one-mile-long island positioned in a bend in the Mississippi River that straddled the boundaries of Tennessee, Missouri, and Kentucky. Pope's army had to be held in check long enough for the main Confederate force, under generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard, to concentrate and launch a counterattack against Grant's advancing army.
The ensuing campaign at Island No. 10 created the first extensive siege of the Civil War. The ultimate capture of the garrison resulted in a new army command for Pope in Virginia. As for the Confederates, the campaign pointed to a faulty western strategy. Simply to concede the rivers and their adjoining cities to the Federal navy was politically unacceptable. Garrison after garrison was captured, however, in the attempt to defend the rivers to the last extremity. Between February 1862 and July 1863 the Confederates lost 64,400 troops, some nine divisions, in defending the rivers. This strategy was a significant contributing factor for Confederate defeat in the West.
Located off the west coast of the Mexican state of Baja California, Isla Cedros—Island of Fogs—is site to some of the most extensive and remarkable archeological discoveries on the continent. Two sites dated to before 12,000 cal BP have been excavated, as well as portions of two large village sites dated to the last one thousand years. Among the artifacts discovered are the earliest fishhooks found on the continent.
Drawing on ten years of his own historical, ethnographic, and archaeological research, Matthew Des Lauriers uses Isla Cedros to form hypotheses regarding the ecological, economic, and social nature of island societies. Des Lauriers uses a comparative framework in order to examine both the development and evolution of social structures among Pacific coast maritime hunter-gatherers as well as to track patterns of change.
Because it examines the issue of whether human populations can intensively harvest natural resources without causing ecological collapse, Island of Fogs provides a relevant historical counterpart to modern discussions of ecological change and alternative models for sustainable development.
Winner of the Society for American Archaeology Book Award.
Island of Grass
Ellen E. Wohl University Press of Colorado, 2009 Library of Congress QH105.C6W64 2009 | Dewey Decimal 577.440978868
Island of Grass tells the story of the Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area, a 240-acre preserve surrounded by housing developments in Fort Collins, Colorado. This small grassland is a remnant of the once-vast prairies of the West that early European explorers and settlers described as seas of grass.Agricultural land use and urban expansion during the past two centuries have fragmented and altered these prairies. All that remains today are small islands. These remnants cannot support some of the larger animals that once roamed the prairie, but they continue to support a diverse array of plants and animals and can still teach us much about grassland ecology. Through her examinations of daily changes during walks across the Fromme Prairie over the course of a year, Ellen Wohl explores one of the more neglected ecosystems in North America, describing the geology, soils, climate, ecology, and natural history of the area, as well as providing glimpses into the lives of the plants, animals, and microbes inhabiting this landscape. Although small in size, pieces of preserved shortgrass prairie like the Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area are rich, diverse, and accessible natural environments deserving of awareness, appreciation, and protection. Anyone concerned with the ecology and conservation of grasslands in general, the ecology and conservation of open space in urban areas, or the natural history of Colorado will be interested in this book.
The Island of Lost Luggage
Janet McAdams University of Arizona Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3563.C263I85 2000 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
". . . at the Island of Lost Luggage, they line up:
the disappeared, the lost children, the Earharts
of modern life. It's your bad luck to die in the cold
wars of certain nations. But in the line at Unclaimed
Baggage, no one mourns for the sorry world
that sent them here . . ."
The abused. The oppressed. The terrified victims of institutionalized insanity. Making daring connections between the personal and the political, Janet McAdams draws new lines in the conflict between the new and old worlds as she redefines the struggle to remain human.
This award-winning collection of poetry forges surprising links among seemingly unrelated forms of violence and resistance in today's world: war in Central America, abuses against Nature, the battleground of the bedroom. McAdams evokes the absurdity of everyday existence as she sends out a new call for social responsibility.
The Island of Lost Luggage is the poetry winner of the 1999 First Book Awards competition of the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas.
From a New York Times bestselling author, a gripping account of the slave rebellion that led to the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.
For five horrific weeks after Christmas in 1831, Jamaica was convulsed by an uprising of its enslaved people. What started as a peaceful labor strike quickly turned into a full-blown revolt, leaving hundreds of plantation houses in smoking ruins. By the time British troops had put down the rebels, more than a thousand Jamaicans lay dead from summary executions and extrajudicial murder.
While the rebels lost their military gamble, their sacrifice accelerated the larger struggle for freedom in the British Atlantic. The daring and suffering of the Jamaicans galvanized public opinion throughout the empire, triggering a decisive turn against slavery. For centuries bondage had fed Britain’s appetite for sugar. Within two years of the Christmas rebellion, slavery was formally abolished.
Island on Fire is a dramatic day-by-day account of this transformative uprising. A skillful storyteller, Tom Zoellner goes back to the primary sources to tell the intimate story of the men and women who rose up and tasted liberty for a few brief weeks. He provides the first full portrait of the rebellion's enigmatic leader, Samuel Sharpe, and gives us a poignant glimpse of the struggles and dreams of the many Jamaicans who died for liberty.
In the darkness of the star-studded desert, bats and moths feed on the nectar of night-blooming cactus flowers. By day, birds and bees do the same, taking to blooms for their sweet sustenance. In return these special creatures pollinate the equally intriguing plants in an ecological circle of sustainability.
The Sonoran Desert is the most biologically diverse desert in the world. Four species of columnar cacti, including the iconic saguaro and organ pipe, are among its most conspicuous plants. No Species Is an Island describes Theodore H. Fleming’s eleven-year study of the pollination biology of these species at a site he named Tortilla Flats in Sonora, Mexico, near Kino Bay.
Now Fleming shares the surprising results of his intriguing work. Among the novel findings are one of the world’s rarest plant-breeding systems in a giant cactus; the ability of the organ pipe cactus to produce fruit with another species’ pollen; the highly specialized moth-cactus pollination system of the senita cactus; and the amazing lifestyle of the lesser long-nosed bat, the major nocturnal pollinator of three of these species.
These discoveries serve as a primer on how to conduct ecological research, and they offer important conservation lessons for us all. Fleming highlights the preciousness of the ecological web of our planet—Tortilla Flats is a place where cacti and migratory bats and birds connect such far-flung habitats as Mexico’s tropical dry forest, the Sonoran Desert, and the temperate rain forests of southeastern Alaska. Fleming offers an insightful look at how field ecologists work and at the often big surprises that come from looking carefully at a natural world where no species stands alone.
Born on the island of Flores, between Europe and the United States, Pedro da Silveira captures the islander's longing for migratory movement, leading to departure and an inevitable return. These fresh and original poems, now available in this masterful translation, express a deep connection to place, particularly, the insular world of the mid-Atlantic islands of the Azores. In Poems in Absentia & Poems from The Island and the World, we find yearning, hope, and loss in equal measure. In plain and direct language, we experience the emotions of dreaming and diminution as well as the discovery of illusions. Behind the poet's searing irony, we recognize a capacious and adventurous spirit.
The research Alexander von Humboldt amassed during his five-year trek through the Americas in the early nineteenth-century proved foundational to the fields of botany, geography, and geology. But his visit to Cuba during this time yielded observations that extended far beyond the natural world. Political Essay on the Island of Cuba is a physical and cultural study of the island nation. In it, Humboldt denounces colonial slavery on both moral and economic grounds and stresses the vital importance of improving intercultural relations throughout the Americas.
Humboldt’s most controversial book, Political Essay on the Island of Cuba was banned, censored, and willfully mistranslated to suppress Humboldt’s strong antislavery sentiments. It reemerges here, newly translated from the original two volume French edition, to introduce a new generation of readers to Humboldt’s astonishing multiplicity of scientific and philosophical perspectives. In their critical introduction, Vera Kutzinski and Ottmar Ette emphasize Humboldt’s rare ability to combine scientific rigor with a cosmopolitan consciousness and a deeply felt philosophical humanism. The result is a work on Cuba of historical import that will attract historians of science as well as cultural historians, political scientists, and literary scholars.
Composed at the request of the Royal Spanish Chronicler of the Indies, Don Diego Torres y Vargas’s Report on the Island & Diocese of Puerto Rico was the first history of Puerto Rico written by a native of the Spanish island colony. Torres y Vargas, a fourth generation Puerto Rican and descendant of Ponce de Leon, records here the history of the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico as well as the political, social, military, economic, and natural history of the island.
This translation—the first ever into English—includes three historical essays by eminent Puerto Rican and Latino Studies scholar Anthony Stevens-Arroyo and extensive translator notes to guide the reader through the realities of seventeenth-century Puerto Rican culture and society.
Voyage to the Island
Raija Nieminen Gallaudet University Press, 2014 Library of Congress HV2785.5.N54 1990 | Dewey Decimal 362.42092
Raija Nieminen, a deaf woman from Finland, had been leading a very full life as both a librarian and mother of two children. Then her husband Jukka won an exciting new job designing the harbor in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Raija suddenly needed to start her life over again in a small, hot, developing country where both the hearing and deaf populations used languages foreign to her.
Voyage to the Island recounts the remarkable story of how she adjusted to a strange, exotic island, first by seeking out other deaf persons and learning their sign language. Later, she met Alfonso, a deaf child and an orphan, and realized that he was only one of many deaf children who needed her help. Soon, Raija was teaching at the island’s school for the deaf.
Her vivid stories of daily frustration mixed with moments of exhilaration at the school make Voyage to the Island an unforgettably moving book. It becomes even more poignant against the backdrop of her own accomplishments as a deaf person advocating complete communication among all people in all communities.