Book Review: Bradt: Falkland Islands

Bradt:  Falkland Islands, by Will Wagstaff

Admittedly, my interest in the Falklands Islands and its history [1] is probably unusual.  Still, given that this book exists, and is in my local library, it cannot be such an unusual interest that no one else shares it.  And this book has the added benefit of giving plenty of reasons why a reasonably eccentric but not completely insane world traveler such as myself would want to visit the Falkland Islands and what such a trip could offer.  If the book seems a bit light on some of the elements that many people consider to be important when traveling–like cuisine, it does at least point out that there are plenty of places where one can get burgers or fish and chips, and if that is not high cuisine, it does not make for disappointing food in a remote corner of the globe.  The people who go to this group of islands have some purposes and the book makes it very clear what purposes you could have in traveling here, and it happens to be that I have some of these purposes in mind when I travel as well and my own interest in the place is at least somewhat related to what has made the islands more popular for tourists than they were before the early 1980’s.

This book is about 200 pages long and is divided into eleven chapters and some other materials.  The book begins with an introduction.  The first part of the book contains some general information about the Falkland Islands (I), including some background information about the islands’ geology and geography, climate, history, government and politics, economy, and culture (1), natural history about plants and animals and conservation efforts (2), and some practical information about when to visit, highlights and itineraries, as well as concerns about health and safety and getting around (3).  The second part of the book then contains the guide proper (II).  This part is divided into seven chapters, including a specific look at Stanley (4), the capital, the area of East Falkland (5) including Darwin and Goose Green as well as San Carlos, Sea Lion Island (6), West Falkland (7), Pebble Island (8), Saunders and Keppel Island (9), Carcass, West Point, and New Island (10), and Weddell, Staats, and Beaver Island (11).  After this there are two appendices on selected flora and fauna (i) and further information (ii), along with an index and an index of advertisers.  Overall the book has a lot of maps and images and provides some very sound information to would-be travelers.

Why would someone want to travel to the Falkland Islands and why would someone write about it in a way that was popular enough to go into at least a second edition.  For one, the islands are a reminder of British imperial rule and their success against an invasion attempted by Argentina.  The military history of the islands, in museums and in battle scars, is one thing that I find compelling about the place, admittedly.  In addition to this, the islands are also notable for their construction–they have a gorgeous suspension bridge as well as some interesting architecture like lighthouses and an Anglican cathedral for those who are interested in such things.  Birdwatchers also have a great deal to enjoy from the islands, given the penguins, vultures, gulls, ducks, petrels, grebes, albatrosses, shearwaters, cormorants, and geese, that can be found here.  Other animals like orcas and dolphins and sea lions and so on are here to find as well, so those who like observing creation have much to view.  Beyond this, the remoteness of the region is its own charm and the guide recommends two weeks at least if one wants to fully explore these islands, which does not seem unreasonable if one enjoys hikes and likes the remote creation that can be found here.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/04/29/how-long-can-the-united-kingdom-retain-control-over-the-falkland-islands/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/08/29/book-review-atlas-of-remote-islands/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2019/06/09/book-review-outposts/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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