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Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia Paperback – January 23, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This angry and angering book is well researched, compelling, and valuable to understanding and emerging US 'empire.'"--Choice
"For Vine imperialism, military prerogative and racism have all combined to deny a people a home simply because they were in the way. His succinct style and controlled outrage make for a damning indictment."--Phil Chamberlain, Tribune
"Island of Shame is not just a gut-wrenching account of how a tropical paradise of powder-white beaches and palm fronds was turned into a massive launch pad for America's military expansionist programme. A large chunk of the book is devoted to how the Chagossians came to build their complex but happy society in the islands and the resulting tragedy of their displacement. Above all, Vine is a top flight researcher. . . . We owe Vine a great debt for shining his light on this island of horrors."--Latha Jishnu, Business Standard
"David Vine's story of the Chagossians is an exemplary piece of both socially embedded reportage and investigative journalism, despite a tendency to indulge in the self-conscious idiom of academic ethnography and reflexive criticism of US 'imperialism.' At heart, however, he speaks truth to power. Power, though, is not listening."--Colin Murphy, Irish Times
"David Vine . . . has rendered high service by writing a thoroughly documented expose of the crime, which the world has ignored because one of its perpetrators is a superpower, the U.S., and its accomplice, the U.K."--A. G. Noorani, Frontline
"Vine's important and timely book sheds welcome light on this dark chapter of U.S. military history, questioning the way our military operates and its impact on civilian populations."--Katherine McCaffrey, American Anthropologist
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a sickening story that makes me ashamed to be British. I understand that David Vine is donating the royalties from this book to the Chagossian community.
This book is of particular interest to me because the removal of the Chagossians from their islands between 1968 and 1973 occurred during my secondary school years in the Seychelles Islands. I must deduce that, at the time, the removal of the Chagossians was done in a most secretive manner for I do not recall any discussion, conversation, debate, radio program (there was no TV), political debate, public rally, or public comment by the then Seychelles Governor, Sir Bruce Greatbatch, on this issue. Nor do I recall the Catholic Church ever once mentioning this issue at any Sunday mass, or at any other time. My parents, of course, did mention Diego Garcia from time to time, but I can only presume they also were kept in the dark because they never mentioned anything about the plight of the Chagossians. The Chagossians were considered the cousins of the Seychellois, with an almost identical creole language and heritage.
As I read this book, I cannot explain the anger I felt, and feel, for this gross injustice carried out by Britain and America against the innocent Chagossian people. It is tantamount to a crime against humanity. This book exposes the gross hypocrisy of the British and Americans. They were preaching human rights to the world while abusing the human rights of the Chagossians. And all because the US needed Diego Garcia for a military base.
I wish everyone would read this book.Read more ›
Like Pilger, Vine gets up close and personal with some of the deported Chagossians, explains the caste system at play in their new "home", and makes no bones about displaying sympathy for their plight. Likewise, he does a thorough job examining the development of the U.S. government's Strategic Island Concept, and fully chronicles the interplay between Washington and London in formulating the coverup of the handoff of Diego that persisted for decades. And the Epilogue poignantly demonstrates how geopolitical decisions, once made, can pose enduring moral tribulations for those who become cogs in the public policy machine.
Despite this book's painstaking research on a subject of moral significance, Vine's final chapter on the creation of a "Humanpolitik" descends into a broad-based polemic against military installations and American "empire", with precious little analysis of the pros and cons of the Strategic Island Concept and the use of American beach heads (although his discussion of the Bikinians is directly on-point).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is more of a history book than a story about the Chagossian people. There is not nearly enough about them and a lot of dates and politics. Read morePublished 6 months ago by bluejeanqueen
Very detailed. Well researched. Information you probably won't find anywhere else. But way too obvious that he's biased. Read morePublished 11 months ago by David Gaines
The title is exactly what it says, a shameful indictment. The British turned over the place to the US military, which continues to rule. Read morePublished 12 months ago by lyndonbrecht
The book was well written. I am glad that I am an American. Yet, sometime I do not think that our government has always done the correct thing. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Rosalie Guyer
I bought this book because I was in the advanced party of USNMCB 40, the SeaBee battalion that was the first to land on Diego Garcia in March of 1971. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Tom Scott