The Life and Death of St. Kilda: The moving story of a vanished island community

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9780006373407: The Life and Death of St. Kilda: The moving story of a vanished island community

The extraordinary story of the UK’s most gruelling and spectacularly beautiful islands.

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.

In this fascinating book, Tom Steel tells the moving story of this vanished community and how twentieth century civilization ultimately brought an entire way of life to its knees.

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From the Back Cover:

FULLY REVISED AND UPDATED

On 29 August 1930 the remaining 36 inhabitants of this bleak but spectacular island off Scotland's western coast took ship for the mainland. A community that had survived alone for centuries finally succumbed to the ravages that resulted from mainland contact. What their lives had been like century after century, why they left, and what happened to them afterwards is the subject of Tom Steel's fascinating book. It is the story of a way of life unlike any other, told here in words and pictures, and of how the impact of twentieth-century civilization led to its death.

This edition contains new chapters that take account of the lives of those who, for very different reasons and in very different ways, have come to live and work on St Kilda in recent years and have continued the extraordinary story of those most gruelling and spectacularly beautiful islands.

"First-rate recreation of a vanished way of life"
THE SCOTSMAN

"Compulsive reading"
THE GUARDIAN

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Steel, Tom
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (1988)
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Tom Steel
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