Silly Isles (Paperback)
No man is an island. But lots of strange men live on them.
In the Kurils, off northern Japan, World War II is still being fought between Japan and Russia, both hell-bent on claiming this tiny island group as their territory. The Galapagos Islands may be home to some of the world's most astonishing flora and fauna but it's also home to Ecuador's gerrymander ambitions and has the tear gas, riots and police barricades to prove it. Iceland, the world's 'purest' genetic community, is a place where everyone is blonde, beautiful - and thoroughly in-bred as a result of zero immigration. And in Spitzbergen, residents can choose to live in the neat and tidy, polar-bear hunting Norwegian half or in the mountain of garbage, rust and dysfunction that is the Soviet half.
In more than a decade of international reporting, Eric Campbell has covered wars, famines, presidencies, and revolution. In the islands he surveys here he finds microcosms of society, complete with long-lasting blood feuds, hidden wars, bizarre histories; all the vanities, hopes and rivalries of great powers. Wry, witty and clever, with a wonderful eye for the absurd, Eric Campbell is the Bill Bryson of the small, odd forgotten places around the world and what they tell us about the human condition.