Outposts

Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire
Narrated by: Simon Winchester
Length: 6 hrs and 46 mins
Categories: History, World
4.2 out of 5 stars (184 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Krakatoa and The Professor and the Madman takes listeners on a quirky and charming tour of the last outpost of the British empire

Originally published in 1985, Outposts is Simon Winchester's journey to find the vanishing empire, "on which the sun never sets". In the course of a three-year, 100,000 mile journey - from the chill of the Antarctic to the blue seas of the Caribbean, from the South of Spain and the tip of China to the utterly remote specks in the middle of gale-swept oceans - he discovered such romance and depravity, opulence and despair that he was inspired to write what may be the last contemporary account of the British empire. 

Written with Winchester's captivating style and breadth, here are conversations and anecdotes, myths and political analysis, scenery and history - a poignant and colorful record of the lingering beat of what was once the heart of the civilized world.

©1985, 2003 Simon Winchester (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Funny, masterly, fine....Superbly written." (The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about Outposts

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Nice Travelogue

I've enjoyed many of Winchester's narrative histories (and am currently listenting to "A Crack at the Edge of the World"), but found this travelogue an equally diverting listen, if a little short on truly useful information, as I doubt I'll ever have the time or money to visit these remote remnants of the British Empire. My one regret is that the book is only available on audio in abridged format (the author explains why this choice was made and how he elected which chapters to eliminate). The narration is excellent.

8 people found this helpful

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I wish it was longer!

My first exposure to Simon Winchester and I look forward to much more. He mentions in the introduction that he was required to edit the audio version, which is unfortunate as I would have liked to hear more. Wonderful blend of interesting facts, anecdote, and biting political commentary.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

colorful stories about distant rocks

Winchester does it again! He brings his colorful descriptions of the history and geology of Great Britain's distant appendages. Author's interview at the end of the book is extra special.

4 people found this helpful

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Lost Places

I thought I would really enjoy this book, but ended up feeling rather sad in the end. The book is well written and well read, but incredibly disheartening. It seems Britain has managed to hold these leftovers of empire in a state of benevolent neglect which is shameful.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Always worthwhile

Any additional comments?

Well, I just adore Simon Winchester. This was, comparably speaking, lighter fare. None the less, engaging, informative and nicely written. I read Atlantic before this which is far more mind blowing but this was a nice sort of coda to that.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

I'd still listen to anything he's written

Well, this is an earlier work, and every successful author appears to dig up some early work of lesser quality. Nevertheless, there were some interesting passages in his turn 'round the remains of the British empire. Still, I wish that he had gone to Ascension Island.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

too short. should of been unabridged!

abridgement is a crime. especially for this author. I felt robbed. I want the whole book. Why was the audio book abridged?!

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Another great story

The only problem with books by Simon Winchester is that you literally can't put them down. Somehow he manages to draw you in and make you feel as if you were there with him