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An Island to Oneself Hardcover – September, 1990

70 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0918024763 ISBN-10: 0918024765 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Ox Bow Press; Reprint edition (September 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0918024765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0918024763
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 82 people found the following review helpful By S. Starke on February 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
No video cameras and immunity for Tom Neale, he did the real deal all by himself for years on a deserted atoll.

A fascinating story of what it takes to survive and a great character study of the type of person who can/would do it.

Tom lived the lazy island life but wasn't satisfied and finally went out to pull a Robinson Crusoe (at the age of 50!). And this was in the 50s. He had no satellite phone to get him out in an emergency, no doppler weather reports, no Honda(tm) generator.

On top of that, he had no safety net. Off the regular shipping channels, he had no scheduled visits, just some random people who happened to pass by and say hi. It was just his skill, determination and a great knowledge of island living that allowed him to survive and thrive.

His daily struggles (from pesky hermit crabs up to life threatening injuries) are a fascinating peek into a life most people will never experience.

After you finish it, be sure check out Wikipedia and the web for more information (and pics) on his life after this book.

An amazing read that ends much too quickly.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By B. Willis on July 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
First of all there were 28 reviews on this book before mine, 27 of them were 5 star ratings - that tells you people really love this book. I thought it was very good & I along with most of the other reviewers would love to find a place like this to get away to. I am glad that Tom Neale took the time to write about his adventures because beautiful tropical uninhabited islands are something that don't really exist anymore. The events in this book took place just a generation or so ago & the isolation Tom Neale found there is mostly gone nowadays. In the early 1960's Tom would go up to 14 months without even seeing another human being. Compare that to 2006 - online I can see that at this current moment there are 16 sailboats anchored at Suvarov Atoll.

I thought the best moments in the book are when Tom is describing his friend the duck or his cats...or just his total happiness.

I have a couple minor negative points to add: The book was written in 1966 & the newest edition available was printed in 1990. The "postscript" in my 1990 edition says that Tom left Suvarov in December 1963 for a variety of circumstances & was going to live out his days on Rarotonga rather than die a lonely death on an isolated island.

I was very suprised to find out via the internet that he went back in 1967 & lived there until 1977. I think a postscript in a book written in 1990 should have this information in it.

I also thought it was strange that when you read the book Tom describes his life between 1954 & 1960 as a terrible time where daily he tried to find a way to get back to Suvarov , worked in a dreary store & after work would go home every day & work on a boat he was building. He mentions a few friends and not much else. When I looked up his history after reading the book I see that in this time he got married & 2 years after this became a father. I think it just shows that Tom was a very private person by not even mentioning this in his book.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By sandy807 VINE VOICE on October 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Like other reviewers, reading this book made me envious of Tom Neale's fulfilled fantasy of living and surviving alone on a beautiful tropical island. Actually, it took him an incredible amount of hard work to get to that point, and even more work, determination, and creativity to provide for all his needs from the limited stores he brought with him and what the island itself offered. He ingeniously found ways to build, cook, raise animals, hunt, and eat. Tom enjoyed the challenge of survival, yet his physical toughness was sometimes severely tested in battling the elements. I lived every beautiful and frustrating moment with him (in my imagination, of course). One reviewer mentioned that Tom must have married and had two kids because the reviewer had just ordered one of his books about his sailing adventures, but that is a different Tom Neale that is currently living. The Tom Neale of An Island to Myself passed away quite a few years ago, and I'm pretty sure he remained a bachelor. Fun book!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joel Platt on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Tom's "Island to Oneself" is a must read. It is a story that one can connect with regardless of background, social, economic or otherwise.

Being a great fan of the south pacific I now have an even greater drive to remain a fan of that bright, hot and so alive place.

My dream is to move to an island one day, maybe not in such remote and isolated conditions as Mr. Neale, but to `My Island' nonetheless.

I was sad when Tom's story closed but have been motivated to seek other literary routes to islands south while I remain here temporarily `stranded' in my desert!

God bless Mr. Neale's soul and may Tom forever rest in peace

I also recommend the following Great Island Stories (to name a few):

"Island of Desire" Robert Dean Frisbie

"Man on His Island" James S. Rockefeller Jr.

"Lost Island" James Normal Hall

"Rascals in Paradise" James A. Michener & A. Grove Day

"Robinson Crusoe" Daniel Defoe

"Kon-Tiki" Thor Heyerdahl

"Tales of the South Pacific" James A. Michener
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas C. Lynch on March 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Embarassingly, I am not a person who reads books often. This book reminds me of the enjoyment and fun there is in reading. I first read (An Island To Myself) in the early 70's, again in 1981, and recently again at 51 years old. I couldn't put it down and felt I was living another life for 2 1/2 days. Tom Neale went to the uninhabited island of SUVAROV at 51, believe me, he's made me fanticise.... anyone else interested? His experiences and how a (normal) human being can exist 200 miles from civilization is extrodiarily depited. Read this book, it may become a favorite! To answer a few questions in previous reviews herein: Tom Neale died in 1977, he must have married and wrote two more books, one about cruising with his wife and two children which I ordered today.
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