A wonderfully engaging account of a farcial conflict Vanuatu Today Is A Paradise In The Sun It Has Twice Won The Title Of The Happiest Place On Earth But In It Was The Scene Of A Bizarre Conflict, When A Tribal Leader Called Jimmy Stevens, Supported By An Army Of Bow And Arrow Warriors, Took Over One Of The Northern Islands And Tried To Break Away From The Powers Of Britain And France The British Sent In Their Troops The French Theirs But Jimmy And His Men Held FirmAward Winning Journalist Richard Shears Travelled To What Was Then Known As The New Hebrides And Became Caught Up In A Most Curious State Of Affairs, Comic And Tragic It Is Doubtful That The Pacific Will Ever See Anything Like This Kind Of Madness Again Fascinating account of a rebellion on Santo in 1980 through the eyes of a British journalist I m excited to be going to Vanuatu soon. Interesting storyWas a quick and interesting read Needs to be edited , however, there are plenty of spelling and verb tense errors. The Coconut War is a cheap 1 on Kindle short 170 pages book covering the 1980 independence of the New Hebrides islands in the South Pacific, and the associated Coconut War This was undoubtedly the last time British troops faced off against natives carrying spears and bows and arrows The book was written by Richard Shears , a journalist who was sent to cover the dispute that flared in the last few weeks prior to the nation of Vanuatu being formed on 30th July 1980 The islands had been for 75 years a jointly managed Condominium between Britain and France Britain held the islands on the strength of a 1774 claim by Captain Cook The French, in typical fashion, ignored this fact, opened a trading company and shipped out settlers By 1900 the islands were heavily stacked with French settlers, and to avoid an incident the British agreed to joint management Actual ownership was never fully discussed, only management, something that came back to haunt negotiations 80 years later By the late 1970s Britain was keen to divest itself of its South Pacific possessions like The Gilberts, Line and Elice Islands In the space of a year it pulled completely out of the Pacific region France on the other hand desperately wanted to hold onto its pacific colonial possessions, especially New Caledonia Losing administration of the New Hebrides was seen as a dangerous precedent France s solution was to clandestinely break up the New Hebrides, meaning that either independence would be abandoned, or would only take place on some of the islands, allowing France to keep a large colonial presence To do this it incited a revolt on Espiritos Santos, one of the largest and most valuable islands Jimmy Stevens, a mixed race local leader, was persuaded to block the local airport, blow up a few bridges and overthrow the local colonial led police Back in London someone hit the panic button, and orders went out to evacuate all British personnel, most of whom were due to leave in a few weeks anyway France, furious that Britain was simply advancing independence by a few weeks, flew in a mobile unit, then flew them out again when they realised how this looked to the world After much wrangling Britain flew in a company of Royal Marines, who eventually landed on Santos, where they met Jimmys troops, who were dressed in penis gourds and carried spears and bows and arrows Jimmys boys fled to the jungle, and the Marines flew home They were never going to look good shooting at naked natives carrying spears Eventually Papuan New Guinee troops arrived with fewer scruples They set up road blocks and rounded up the rebels Several deaths occurred, including that of Jimmys son The revolt ended within hours Shears covers all of this from first hand experience, in a humorous no punches pulled manner reminiscent of Don t Cry for Me Sergeant Major Its a great read, a mix of the end of British colonialism, underhand French tactics, tooled up Booties, island natives and exotic bars on a remote Pacific island New Hebrides is still there, now called Vanuatu, and the French are still there, pulling every string from inside a massive embassy They now drive on the right There is no official britsh representation on the island France won Read the book Its worth it I was there last week I stayed at what was the old Intercontinental, where the Booties drank every night so long ago, overlooking a peaceful lagoon Jimmy died 20 years ago, after many years in jail. This is a very good piece of war correspondence by a British reporter who covered this bizarre post colonial conflict that erupted in Vanuatu and surrounding islands The story involves cargo cults, shadowy groups of American anarcho capitalists, nativist rebellion, and great game style diplomatic maneuvering One would think it to have taken place centuries ago, but this is all recent history from the nineteen eighties The narrative voice is that of a somewhat amused, likely sauced, British journalist who sends the whole thing up with an air of bemused bewilderment The reporting lacks a bit of depth, but Shears seems to be the only person to have ever written anything about the whole affair, so take it or leave it. This is a very good non fiction book on some of the historical events in Vanuatu Well written and witty, would recommend to anyone interested in reading about politics and the way people try to negotiate independence and state formation.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the
- Kindle Edition
- 170 pages
- The Coconut War
- Richard Shears
- 03 October 2018 Richard Shears