Alec Waugh first saw the West Indies on a trip round the world, in 1926, when his ship called in at Guadeloupe. Fifteen months later he returned for a long stay at Martinique; it was the beginning of a lifelong interest in these fascinating islands that were to provide him with the material for many books and articles. In The Sugar Islands, a book to be dipped into at leisure, Mr. Waugh has selected pieces from his writings, with the intention of compiling both a travelogue (there is a wealth of interesting information for the would-be traveller about the ways of life and customs of each island) and a chronological commentary on the development of the islands during the last 30 years.
The audiobook is divided into four parts. In the first, the author gives an idea of the background of the West Indies by drawing a detailed picture of the colourful life of Martinique. He tells the story of a 17th-century Frenchman who joined the famous pirates of Tortuga and the history of the long bloodbath that preceded the declaration of independence of Haiti, the Black Republic. The second part of the book comprises four character sketches, including three stories of black magic, and two sections deal with the individual charm and interest of each of the islands: Montserrat, Barbados, Anguilla, Trinidad, St. Vincent, Tortola, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saba, Antigua, Dominica, and Puerto Rico.
Alec Waugh (1898-1981) was a British novelist born in London and educated at Sherborne Public School, Dorset. Waugh’s first novel, The Loom of Youth (1917), is a semi-autobiographical account of public-school life that caused some controversy at the time and led to his expulsion. Waugh was the only boy ever to be expelled from The Old Shirburnian Society.
Despite setting this record, Waugh went on to become the successful author of over 50 works, and lived in many exotic places throughout his life which later became the settings for some of his texts. He was also a noted wine connoisseur and campaigned to make the cocktail party a regular feature of 1920s social life.