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The Life and Death of St. Kilda


The Life and Death of St. Kilda

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    Available in PDF Format | The Life and Death of St. Kilda.pdf | English
    Tom Steel(Author)

The extraordinary story of the UK’s most gruelling and spectacularly beautiful islands. Tom Steel’s acclaimed portrait of the St Kildan’s lives is now updated in this reissued edition.

Situated at the westernmost point of the United Kingdom, the spectacularly beautiful but utterly bleak island of St Kilda is familiar to virtually nobody. A lonely archipelago off the coast of Scotland, it is hard to believe that for over two thousand years, men and women lived here, cut off from the rest of the world.

With a population never exceeding two hundred in its history, the St Kildans were fiercely self-sufficient. An intensely religious people, they climbed cliffs from childhood and caught birds for food. Their sense of community was unparalleled and isolation enveloped their day-to-day existence.

With the onset of the First World War, things changed. For the very first time in St Kilda’s history, daily communication was established between the islanders and the mainland. Slowly but surely, this marked the beginning of the end of St Kilda and in August 1930, the island’s remaining 36 inhabitants were evacuated.

Newly updated to include the historic appointment of St Kilda as the United Kingdom’s only UNESCO Dual Heritage site, the ongoing search for information about the island and the threats that it continues to face, this is the moving story of a vanished community and how twentieth century civilization ultimately brought an entire way of life to its knees.

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Book details

  • PDF | 304 pages
  • Tom Steel(Author)
  • HarperPress; UK ed. edition (18 Aug. 2011)
  • English
  • 2
  • History
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Review Text

  • By Dee on 7 January 2017

    Interesting read, made history personal

  • By Mad hatter on 15 August 2017

    Sadness that people sitting behind desks in cities who think they know better, can drive these people away from the land they loved

  • By Hamlet on 19 December 2012

    This is a biography of extremes - extreme setting, extreme weather, extreme hardship and an extreme people who were eventually defeated by it all. The St. Kildans, inhabiting the most westerly part of the UK, 100 miles from their nearest neighbours in the middle of the Atlantic, lived on oily, semi-raw sea birds which required scaling extreme peaks to catch, dodging up to 140 mph winds and waves which swept over the tops of the nearby stacs where the birds nested.The often half starved, bare foot island children who survived shared living space in the tiny dwellings with their animals in winter while the parents wove shawls and blankets for the feudal Lord who was the owner of the island. They spoke their own Gaelic dialect, making communication difficult until the Christian missionaries started a school.The late Tom Steel writes a lively, often heartbreaking account, which does not end when the last of the islanders were split up and evacuated (at their own expence!) to the mainland. This version was updated recently to follow events on the island since the inhabitants left. It is enthralling, up-put-downable and left this reader just a little obsessed with St. Kilda!

  • By Marek on 27 October 2011

    This new revised edition of The Life and Death of St Kilda is an excellent read. As a fan of the previous edition I was much impressed by the updated information which provides additional background to the original text, as well as bringing the reader up to date with more recent developments. Tom Steel evocatively brings to life the human story of St Kilda and the book appropriately challenges the reader to weigh up the pros and cons of the major decisions that were taken. This book is a great read and it's well illustrated with historic photos. Highly recommended.

  • By Pip on 11 September 2012

    Having had the pleasure of watching a TV programme about St Kilda, I purchased this book. From the very first page I was spellbound. Tom writes with an easy style and very pleasant tempo and as a consequence of reading this excellent book intend to visit St Kilda one day (with luck!). Thank you Tom Steel.

  • By lotuslor on 28 August 2017

    Bought this book aftr visiting the island. Great book. Its both interesting and engaging, a great accessible book for anyone looking to know more about island life and its people. At times its a little repetitive but well worth a read

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