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A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa
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A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Robert Louis Stevenson gives an eyewitness account of the battle of three Western nations (Britain, the United States, and Germany) for control of Samoa. Not only is this a fine analysis of late-nineteenth-century colonialism, it is also a rollicking good yarn in the best Stevenson tradition.
Paperback, 200 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by University of Hawaii Press (first published 1892)
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3.55  · 
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 ·  38 ratings  ·  4 reviews

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Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
RLS lived in Samoa for many years and wrote this report on its people and their then recent history. Most of it took place in the now independent country of Samoa, but I have chosen it for American Samoa because it shows the start of how it became American.
He wrote in a hurry to explain the situation and he took witness statements from people concerned. It is very readable and he sometimes has a tongue-in-cheek attitude when describing various schemes and machinations by the non-Samoans. He is g
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating in detail, a snapshot of a particular corner of the world in tremendous focus. A must for a modern historian.
Meg Morrison
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was at times tedious, but overall was very insightful into a culture and the history of this region.
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating! I want to travel to Samoa now.
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Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of English literature. He was greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling and Vladimir Nabokov.

Most modernist writers dismissed him, however, because he was popular and did not write within their narrow definition of literature. It is onl
“And for the real noble a whole private dialect is set apart. The common names for an axe, for blood, for bamboo, a bamboo knife, a pig, food, entrails, and an oven are taboo in his presence, as the common names for a bug and for many offices and members of the body are taboo in the drawing-rooms of English ladies. Special words are set apart for his leg, his face, his hair, his belly, his eyelids, his son, his daughter, his wife, his wife's pregnancy, his wife's adultery, adultery with his wife, his dwelling, his spear, his comb, his sleep, his dreams, his anger, the mutual anger of several chiefs, his food, his pleasure in eating, the food and eating of his pigeons, his ulcers, his cough, his sickness, his recovery, his death, his being carried on a bier, the exhumation of his bones, and his skull after death. To address these demigods is quite a branch of knowledge, and he who goes to visit a high chief does well to make sure of the competence of his interpreter. To complete the picture, the same word signifies the watching of a virgin and the warding of a chief; and the same word means to cherish a chief and to fondle a favourite child.” 1 likes
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