LOST ISLAND by James Norman Hall
Kirkus Star


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When I finished this, I felt as though the story had just begun, for it is that sort of book. It starts one's imagination down new paths by crystalizing a situation, setting the stage, presenting the characters. Hall, from long love for the Pacific Islands, writes from a full heart of the tragedy of the end of a period in Polynesian civilization, an end brought about not by conquest, which might have carried its own message, but by American efficiency and preparedness, as a tropical island, a little paradise, is converted almost overnight into an air base, the people transplanted to crowded quarters on a neighboring island, where they have been accustomed to go only in holiday need for a picnic; their livelihood (fish -- -- birds) destroyed; their church, lovingly built by their own labor, and the garden, which symbolized for the mission priest a link with another world, torn to bits. The story is told by the civilian engineer who has preceded the military construction forces; it is told in terms of his own awakening to the meaning of this desecration, human, emotional, practical, imaginative. There is even an odd twist to the human side, in the pursues of a father and daughter, Jewish refugees, who had found here peace from . And finally, before his job is completed, he tells it in terms of our own warm-hearted, exuberant boys in uniform, some of whom sense the tragedy, most of whom are kindly and good-hearted, a few of whom must be guarded against. A slight book, perhaps, but moving.....

Publisher: Little, Brown