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A Footnote to History Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa   By: (1850-1894)

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A Footnote to History Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa by Robert Louis Stevenson is a captivating and thought-provoking account of the troubles faced by Samoa during a period of colonialism and political instability. Written by the renowned Scottish author, known for his works such as Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, this book takes a departure from Stevenson's fictional tales and delves into the realm of historical non-fiction.

In this work, Stevenson provides an in-depth exploration of the complex and tumultuous events that unfolded in Samoa between 1882 and 1890. With his keen eye for detail and a remarkable ability to convey emotion, Stevenson paints a vivid picture of the cultural clashes, power struggles, and external influences that shaped this small Pacific island nation.

One of the strongest aspects of this book is Stevenson's ability to bring the characters to life. By seamlessly interweaving personal anecdotes, interviews, and his own reflections, he creates a compelling narrative that captures the essence of each individual involved. Whether it is the indigenous Samoan leaders fighting for their autonomy, the European settlers seeking economic gain, or the diplomatic representatives of colonial powers vying for control, every character is presented with depth and nuance.

Stevenson's writing style is elegant and evocative, transporting readers to the tropical paradise of Samoa. His descriptive prose vividly portrays the island's natural beauty, cultural richness, and the devastating impact of outside influences. Additionally, his meticulous research and attention to detail ensure accuracy and authenticity throughout the narrative.

Furthermore, A Footnote to History serves as more than just a historical account. Stevenson poses profound questions about colonialism, cultural imperialism, and the morality of foreign intervention. He challenges the reader to reflect on the consequences of imperialism and the importance of preserving indigenous cultures in the face of Western encroachment. By exploring these themes, the book transcends its historical context and becomes an insightful commentary on broader societal issues.

However, one minor limitation of the book is its occasionally dense prose. Stevenson occasionally delves into intricate political and legal details, which may be overwhelming for readers seeking a more accessible and fast-paced account. Nevertheless, this does not significantly detract from the overall enjoyment and educational value of the book.

In conclusion, A Footnote to History Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa is a remarkable work by Robert Louis Stevenson that combines historical scholarship, captivating storytelling, and profound social commentary. Suitable for both history enthusiasts and those interested in broader discussions of imperialism and cultural identity, this book is an essential addition to any reader's collection. Stevenson's insightful exploration of Samoa's troubled history will leave a lasting impression and encourage further reflection on the complexities of colonialism.

First Page:



An affair which might be deemed worthy of a note of a few lines in any general history has been here expanded to the size of a volume or large pamphlet. The smallness of the scale, and the singularity of the manners and events and many of the characters, considered, it is hoped that, in spite of its outlandish subject, the sketch may find readers. It has been a task of difficulty. Speed was essential, or it might come too late to be of any service to a distracted country. Truth, in the midst of conflicting rumours and in the dearth of printed material, was often hard to ascertain, and since most of those engaged were of my personal acquaintance, it was often more than delicate to express. I must certainly have erred often and much; it is not for want of trouble taken nor of an impartial temper. And if my plain speaking shall cost me any of the friends that I still count, I shall be sorry, but I need not be ashamed.

In one particular the spelling of Samoan words has been altered; and the characteristic nasal n of the language written throughout ng instead of g . Thus I put Pango Pango, instead of Pago Pago; the sound being that of soft ng in English, as in singer , not as in finger ... Continue reading book >>

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