Island at the End of the World: The Turbulent History of Easter Island (Hardcover)

The Turbulent History of Easter Island

By Roger Steven Fischer

Reaktion Books, 9781861892454, 304pp.

Publication Date: December 31, 2005



A comprehensive but not glossy history of Easter Island. Largely devoid of illustrations, Island at the End of the World tells the history of the island called by its inhabitants Rapanui, beginning with its origins, its first inghabitants and their struggles for survival. The book weaves through cycles of adaptation, contact and reinvention, as Easter Islanders were faced with the threats posed by Mother Nature, by isloation, by contact with foreigners and the bloodshed and disease that they brought with them. Of course no book about Easter Island would be complete without a discussion of its monumental statues and the belief system of its people although this is not the main focus of the study. The history of the island is taken up to the present day, its annexation by Chile, its burgeoning tourist industry, and its interrogation by an interdisciplinary bus-load of scholars and researchers.

About the Author

Steven Roger Fischer is director of the Institute of Polynesian Language and Literatures in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of A History of Language, A History of Writing, and A History of Reading, all available from Reaktion Books.

Praise For Island at the End of the World: The Turbulent History of Easter Island

"Fischer''s fluent narrative reveals how smallness, isolation, and a fragile environment have shaped the history of this tiny community. . . . Its strength lies equally in the author''s sensitive micro-study approach and its subject matter. Above all, it deserves a wide readership because Easter Island still presents a global warning about the imperative of environmental sustainability."--American Historical Review  
-Philippa Mein Smith