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The Sunburnt Queen: A True Story (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. November 2006

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  • Taschenbuch: 420 Seiten
  • Verlag: Saqi Books; Auflage: New edition (1. November 2006)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 086356545X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863565458
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 3 x 23,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 369.838 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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'Extraordinary story of a shipwrecked child and her descendants, traced through contemporary oral histories and reports from the Eastern Cape.' The Bookseller


In the late 1730s, an unknown English East Indiaman smashed to pieces on the reefs of Lambasi Bay on South Africa's Wild Coast. Next morning, the local inhabitants stumbled upon Bessie, a seven-year-old English girl huddled beside a rock on the beach. She was not the first to be shipwrecked on these treacherous shores. Many before her had starved to death, or been killed or cannibalised; some walked hundreds of miles to trading posts. But these locals chose to take Bessie home and bring her up as one of their own. She grew to be a woman of legendary beauty and wisdom, eventually becoming the Great Wife of a prince. So began the enduring legacy of a dynasty that extends to many of today's Xhosa royal families. Using the oral histories of the tribes, and written accounts by early missionaries and traders who met Bessie's grandchildren, Hazel Crampton traces the story of Bessie and her descendants throughout the turbulent history of the Eastern Cape until the present day.


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Von Sean Steinfeger am 2. Oktober 2014
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
The author writes beautifully on a fascinating subject, so I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in South African history, colonial mishaps, shipwrecks, good fortune, bad fortune, prophesies misinterpreted, the kindness of strangers, lost treasures, greed...and lucid historical writing.

This book's only fault is the cover illustration, which I think gives the impression this is some kind of light weight romance novel. It's not - it's a thoroughly researched piece of historical prose, and one I wish I'd purchased as a hardback, because it's a real gem.
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9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Speculation abounds and Fantasy dominates 24. Oktober 2012
Von Alan Wilson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
The Pondoland coast of South Africa was a strange anomaly for many hundreds of years. Beginning in the 1500's, the sea lanes nearby were regularly traversed by Portuguese, Dutch, English, French [and others besides] ships travelling to and from India and the Far East. Yet the landscape itself was an almost complete unknown with Western knowledge confined to maps and observations of its coastline taken from the decks of passing ships. Of the people who dwelt there, even less was known.

Inevitably over the centuries ships got into navigational and technical difficulties and were wrecked on the Pondoland coast. Survivors, if any, had three choices. March north in the hope of reaching a Portuguese settlement in the area of today's Maputo. March south in the hope of reaching outlying Dutch farms at the Cape. Or assimilating with the local tribes people.

This book takes its cue from the 1782 wreck of a British East Indiaman named the Grosvenor. Of its 130-odd survivors, only a small handful returned home to Britain and India after a grueling coastal trek southwards to a Dutch farmstead outside modern-day Port Elizabeth. Most Grosvenor survivors perished of hunger, exposure and exhaustion on the way with small groups struggling on leaving behind comrades who could no longer continue. Of note is the fact that the Grosvenors included families travelling as passengers; none of whom returned home and which invariably led to speculation as to their individual fates. The Sunburnt Queen launches backwards in history prior to the Grosvenor wreck and constructs its narrative around an oral, Pondoland tradition that an English ship was wrecked some 20 to 30 years previously from whence came a young English girl [Bessie] who was assimilated into the local tribal community and who went on to found her own, racially-mixed sub-tribe. The arc becomes complete when, of course, the Grosvenors arrive and the speculative possibility is created that at least some of them found a measure of security within Bessie's community. It is noteworthy too that when Jacob van Reenen visited the area on two expeditions to search for Grosvenor survivors, he records the fact of meeting elderly European women living with extended families as Pondos.

If the fate of the Grosvenors is a matter of tenuous speculation [refer Percival R Kirby's "Wreck of the Grosvenor" and Stephen Taylor's "The Caliban Shore"] even when supported by first-hand testimony and copious official records, then The Sunburnt Queen is obliged to go right out into fantasy, wishful thinking and a heavy seasoning of modern-day political correctness in order to tell its tale simply because all that the author has to go on is some thinly attenuated oral history. Perhaps this is this book's greatest strength - and most dire weakness. It is an amazing feat of imagination but is too speculative to be a plausible history and too strongly set about with a need to "tell a factual story" to be a novel for this reader to like very much. It's a very strange hybrid indeed.

Good Points:
A must-have for anyone interested in Grosvenorology - like this reviewer.

Bad Points:
Too much wishful thinking, necessarily disjointed at times, and insipidly politically correct.
A one-time read - for the above reasons.
8 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
History of the Wild Coast 28. Juli 2011
Von Sam Clemens - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Not a bad book, but the premise is a bit misleading. It promises to be a story of Bessie, a small English girl who survived a shipwreck and went on to become an African queen. Actually, Bessie is mostly dealt with in the first few pages, a retelling of oral history, in which the little girl more or less instantly springs to womanhood, speaking only the native language, fully immersed in the culture and weds in the traditional tribal fashion. No detail or even speculation about what she went thru in the meantime. For the remaining 95% of the book we only hear of her in passing, sort of a 'Roots' approach to what may, or may not, have happened among her descendents.

We also learn that the area witnessed scores of shipwrecks with hundreds of survivors, many of whom likewise were absorbed into local tribes, although perhaps not rising to the status that Bessie achieved. But there is much speculation, and much is unknown or unknowable.

The book overall is a relatively interesting history of the region called the Wild Coast of South Africa. This is the author's first book, somewhat evidenced in the writing style. It can be a rather dry Geneological study, punctuated by little gems such as "Then the s--t hit the fan" or 'maybe she was a goddess in the sack".

The book has too many tiny, hard to read maps that add little to the reader's understanding. A couple of good full-page maps would be a good revision
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Great history of one the most beautiful and interesting parts of South Africa: The Wild Cost/Transkei 27. Juni 2011
Von All Things Good - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This book is marketed as the story of one shipwrecked girl who became a queen, but really it is a history of the Eastern Cape with special focus on the centuries before and during the 1820 English Settlers.

This is truly the untold story of the complicated racial history of South Africa's Eastern Cape. Shipwreck survivors and escaped slaves arrived over the centuries to remake the Eastern Cape as a center of cultural and racial introduction. Settling among the Xhosa and Bushmen, the Eastern Cape's history is far more intricate than I thought.

A good book for all African history buffs.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good Text type book 19. September 2010
Von J. Manwaring - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Takes a bit to get into but once you begin it is very interesting and informative.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Five Stars 29. September 2014
Von walkingmydestiny - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
ok read
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