Nathaniel's Nutmeg: How One Man's Courage Changed the Course of History

Nathaniel's Nutmeg: How One Man's Courage Changed the Course of History


By (author) Giles Milton

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  • Publisher: Sceptre
  • Format: Paperback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 28mm | 300g
  • Publication date: 11 December 1999
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0340696761
  • ISBN 13: 9780340696767
  • Illustrations note: Maps and integrated illustraions
  • Sales rank: 50,941

Product description

In 1616, an English adventurer, Nathaniel Courthope, stepped ashore on a remote island in the East Indies on a secret mission - to persuade the islanders of Run to grant a monopoly to England over their nutmeg, a fabulously valuable spice in Europe. This infuriated the Dutch, who were determined to control the world's nutmeg supply. For five years Courthope and his band of thirty men were besieged by a force one hundred times greater - and his heroism set in motion the events that led to the founding of the greatest city on earth. A beautifully told adventure story and a fascinating depiction of exploration in the seventeenth century, NATHANIEL'S NUTMEG sheds a remarkable light on history.

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Author information

Giles Milton is a writer and journalist. He has contributed articles for most of the British national newspapers as well as many foreign publications and specialises in the history of travel and exploration. In the course of his researches, he has travelled extensively in Europe and the Middle East.

Review quote

A magnificent piece of popular history. ... This is a book to read, reread, then read again to your children. Nicholas Fearn, Independent on Sunday Beautifully touching ... To write a book that makes the reader sit in a trance, lost in his passionate desire to pack a suitcase and go to the fabulous place - that, in the end, is something one would give a sack of nutmeg for. Philip Hensher, The Spectator Giles Milton tells his adventurous and sometimes grisly tale with relish ... The thoroughness and intelligence of his research underpins the lively confidence with which he deploys it. John Spurling, Times Literary Supplement A truly gripping tale... His research is impeccable... Once embarked upon the journey of the book, one is loath, sometimes unable... to turn back and abandon it. Martin Booth, The Sunday Times Milton has a terrific eye for the kind of detail that can bring the past vividly to life The Spectator

Editorial reviews

Milton's third book tells the story of how this unimpressive-looking spice was once fought over with the same ardent brutishness we now reserve for crude oil. Doctors in the 17th century considered it the only true specific against the plague. It was also thought to be an aphrodisiac, and excessive consumption was the undoing of the Earl of Dorset. This book traces the struggle, principally between Holland and England, to secure the source of this precious commodity, a remote group of mountainous islands in the East Indies. It is not a very elevating story; the Dutch are portrayed as the villains of the piece while the English are their plucky and bewildered victims, a slant that gives an old-fashioned Boy's Own character to the book. This is popular history of the Longitude school by a writer with an infectious enthusiasm for his subject. Helpful maps and illustrations. Review by ANDREW MILLER ANDREW MILLER'S books include Casanova and Ingenious Pain, winner of the 1999 IMPAC award. (Kirkus UK)