BUT. I’m not saying that the book I ended with up (Island Kingdom: Tonga Ancient & Modern, by I.C. Campbell) was weighed down by a little too much Great Man Theory; yeah, wait…I am saying exactly that.
There were moments that my brain was happy: info about the uniqueness of Tonga’s geology and natural history, the amazing and brave Oceanic people that first made their way to the islands, the effects of European contact and the introduction of Christianity…I want to know more! Unfortunately, all of that got lost in an overly exhaustive list of chiefs, kings, and politicians. So. Much. Detail.
So, I’ll be on the lookout for a more personal telling of life in Tonga. Please let me know if you know of such a book! I would be thrilled to check it out!
Getting to know New Caledonia has been an incredibly gratifying experience. I so appreciate learning about a place that is entirely new to me; the land, the history, what people are currently dealing with…it’s all exciting, and humbling. What a world we live in – and there’s so much that we as individuals don’t know, even if we feel like we are seeking knowledge all of the time. The whole point of this blog has been to gain a better sense of this planet we all call home, and to be a better global citizen. Success on the first point, and always working on the second…
There’s so much to talk about! I’m still reading a book by Kanak author and activist, Déwé Gorodé, so that review will be a deeper dive into the issues her work highlights: the history of French rule, and the current-day complexities that brings to life on the islands, especially for the Kanak people.
The author was stationed on New Caledonia during World War II, when the US Navy had a base on the island. He wrote about the war, his perceptions of the landscape that he was experiencing, his interactions with the local people,and…a lot more. Mr. Creekmore was from a prominent Mississippi family, but his disdain for much of what that entailed is clear. He is blunt about racism,hypocrisy, and alienation. His clarity was probably influenced by the fact that he was a gay man from the American South, at a time when that was not in any way going to be accepted, or even acknowledged.
I really encourage you to check out this book, and journey with me in exploring his other work; he was also a novelist, and tackled the above subjects in much greater depth (at least from what I can tell from reviews). The culture that he sprang from did not see fit to celebrate his talents, but we can help reclaim that legacy; he deserves the acknowledgment.
I am so excited about my next destination! I hate to admit how unaware I was about New Caledonia’s place in the world – as in, I literally had no idea where it was – but now I do know, and I’m thrilled to learn as much as I can.
I already have quite a few books lined up and ready to go, so I’m diving right in.
Nice to meet you, New Caledonia!
Location of New Caledonia (Image by TUBS via Wikimedia Commons)
Emblem of New Caledonia (Image by J.delanoy via Wikimedia Commons)
Map of New Caledonia (Image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)