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Nathaniel's Nutmeg: Or the True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History Paperback – July 1, 2000
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The book deals with the competition between England and Holland for possession of the spice-producing islands of Southeast Asia throughout the 17th century. Packed with stories of heroism, ambition, ruthlessness, treachery, murder, torture, and madness, Nathaniel's Nutmeg offers a compelling story of European rivalry in the tropics, thousands of miles from home, and the mutual incomprehensibility which often comically characterized relations between the Europeans and the local inhabitants of the prized islands.
At the center of the action lies Nathaniel Courthope, a trusty lieutenant of the East India Company, who took and held the tiny nutmeg-producing island of Run in the face of overwhelming Dutch opposition for more than five years, before being treacherously murdered in 1620. To avenge his death, and the loss of the island, the British took the Dutch North American colony at Manhattan. (As Milton wittily remarks, although Courthope's death "robbed England of her nutmeg, it gave her the biggest of apples").
Inevitably inviting comparisons with Dava Sobel's Longitude, Nathaniel's Nutmeg is a charming story that throws light on a neglected period of European history, and analyzes its fascination with the "spicy" East. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Much to my pleasant surprise I found this was a book I just couldn't put down. It was riveting! I suppose one could categorize this book as "popular history" because it reads much like a novel with many colorful characters and intriguing events that make up the early history of the English and Dutch East India companies, although its primary focus is on the former. I found the author's writing style to be very engrossing and easy to read, unlike many histories.
I became quite caught up in the excitement and horror of events, as described by Mr. Milton, but I had to keep reminding myself that the author is an Englishman. The obvious partisanship of the author was probably one of the weak points of the book: he made much reference to the crimes committed by the Dutch in the East Indies but, no doubt, the English traders had their fair share of rogues who committed other crimes - especially during the first half century of the English East India Company. It would be interesting to read a book on the same subject written by a Dutchman and compare and contrast!
However, to his credit, the author quite successfully shows how disorganized and irresponsible the directors of the East India Company could be, especially in regard to their choice of men to lead expeditions to the East. Many of the voyages the early traders made to the Indies were unsuccessful and resulted in the frequent loss of ships and men.Read more ›
In general this is a fascinating and exciting tale - made more exciting by the fact that is was real - real history. Specifically, it was obvious that the author was British as the reader is led to believe that the Dutch and Portuguese were absolute barbarians when in fact, the British captains and crew were certainly not all tea and crumpet types either. I also had a little trouble with the author's tendency to jump back and forth between Atlantic and Pacific voyages, and mentioning protagonists in one chapter and bringing them back in subsequent chapters - it was sometimes hard to follow who was where when. The most impressive part of this book for me was the fact that the author must have had to read through thousands of very old diaries, letters, and other correspondance of the time to have built such a wonderfully complete tale of this period in history set in a place in the world very few people know a good deal about. Just wonderful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Milton definitely did his homework and researched the book very well. It is quite interesting in places and there are even some tense moments that keep you reading. Read morePublished 8 days ago by S. G. Fortosis
This was one of the most remarkable exposes that I have ever read and am grateful
it gave me a new approach to Anlgo Amererican history. Read more
Another book that gives you a great glimpse into world history. The one tiny little island where nutmeg originally grew had a massive impact on the world. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Darren Burton
Another great history by Milton. This time the subject is the spice trade and the Anglo-Dutch rivalry of the 1600s that leads to England's capture of New Amsterdam ( New York)Published 8 months ago by Keith C.
purchased for 14 year old boy who is loving the adventure story along with the history; book came earlier than promised in great conditionPublished 12 months ago by SONDY
My book club read this. I found the book to be quite repetitive and hence, boring, but it does provide some insights into aspects of European history with which I was hitherto... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Charles C
Frankly I did not expect to read this entire book. I began thinking I'd just read 50 pages or so and then it would be so boring I'd quit. That's not what happened! Read morePublished 13 months ago by Bob Walch
Interesting read. A must read for anyone planning to visit the Banda Islands. I haven't visited yet, but i will on my next trip to Indonesia.Published 14 months ago by Robert Graffam