The Life and Death of St. Kilda

The Life and Death of St. Kilda : The Moving Story of a Vanished Island Community

4.06 (371 ratings by Goodreads)
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The extraordinary story of the UK's most gruelling and spectacularly beautiful islands. Tom Steel's acclaimed portrait of the St Kildan's lives is now updated in this reissued edition.

Situated at the westernmost point of the United Kingdom, the spectacularly beautiful but utterly bleak island of St Kilda is familiar to virtually nobody. A lonely archipelago off the coast of Scotland, it is hard to believe that for over two thousand years, men and women lived here, cut off from the rest of the world.

With a population never exceeding two hundred in its history, the St Kildans were fiercely self-sufficient. An intensely religious people, they climbed cliffs from childhood and caught birds for food. Their sense of community was unparalleled and isolation enveloped their day-to-day existence.

With the onset of the First World War, things changed. For the very first time in St Kilda's history, daily communication was established between the islanders and the mainland. Slowly but surely, this marked the beginning of the end of St Kilda and in August 1930, the island's remaining 36 inhabitants were evacuated.

Newly updated to include the historic appointment of St Kilda as the United Kingdom's only UNESCO Dual Heritage site, the ongoing search for information about the island and the threats that it continues to face, this is the moving story of a vanished community and how twentieth century civilization ultimately brought an entire way of life to its knees.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 22mm | 260g
  • HarperPress
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • Illustrations, map
  • 0007438001
  • 9780007438006
  • 150,568

Review quote

'First-rate recreation of a vanished way of life' Scotsman

'Compulsive reading' Guardian
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About Tom Steel

Tom Steel was born in 1943 in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1965 after graduating from Cambridge, he joined the staff of Rediffusion Television as a programme researcher. From 1968 he worked for Thames Television as a producer and director on such programmes as Today, This Week and People and Politics. After leaving Thames Television he worked as a freelance producer and director on numerous programmes for ITV, BBC and Channel 4. In 1989 he married Peta Van den Bergh. They lived in London where Tom died suddenly in July 2007. He had been updating this book at the time of his death.
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Rating details

371 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 31% (114)
4 49% (180)
3 18% (65)
2 3% (11)
1 0% (1)
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