What drove him to lead such an isolated lifestyle? He wasn't a crank, mystic, a hermit or even slightly balmy. He just wanted to get out of the rat race, and his inspiring book is still virtually a bible for anyone who dreams of living alone on a deserted tropical island. But there was a lot of stuff about his personal life this private man purposely omitted, including the six children he likely sired around the Pacific. I had the good fortune and honour of meeting one of his offspring, Jeanne Humphreys, in Rarotonga recently, and she was happy to fill me in on some of the missing information. Neale opted to live three stints on Suwarrow totalling 16 years of his adult life in solitude where he practised near day-to-day self-sufficiency and was lucky if he saw three or four people a year.
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Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. What we have all now and then dreamed of doing, Tom Neale did: go and live alone on a desert island.
For years while storekeeping in the South Pacific, he planned, read and talked until the great day when he was landed on his little kingdom, aware of but undismayed by the fact that he would have to struggle with the full strength of body and mind to survive.
Neale's grip What we have all now and then dreamed of doing, Tom Neale did: go and live alone on a desert island. Neale's gripping account of his years spent alone on Suvarov is an unforgettable tale of peril, beauty, and solitude. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published September 25th by Ox Bow Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about An Island to Oneself , please sign up.
Neil fish, bully beef, rice possibly, rooster. You should give the book a read, it is …more fish, bully beef, rice possibly, rooster. You should give the book a read, it is an amazing true story and has its ups and downs and in my opinion leaves you with a wonderful feeling of just happines and satisfaction. See all 6 questions about An Island to Oneself…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order.
Shelves: sailing-cruising. You don't have to be a sailor to love this book because it isn't really about sailing. It's about being comfortable being completely alone, and surviving without a grocery store a doctor or a dentist for hundreds of miles. Tom Neale was an amazing guy and he tells an amazing story of what it is truly like to live alone on a tropical island. I desperately wanted to stop at his island Suvorov on our way from Bora Bora to American Samoa, but unfortunately there was a dengue fever outbreak amongst You don't have to be a sailor to love this book because it isn't really about sailing.
I desperately wanted to stop at his island Suvorov on our way from Bora Bora to American Samoa, but unfortunately there was a dengue fever outbreak amongst the crews of the sailboats already there so we had to pass it by. So Suvorov will have to exist only in my mind as described by Tom Neale. A friend wanted me to help him sail his boat to Samoa from Tahiti. I agreed to go if we could stop at Suvorov.
It's an amazing place, and although I have visited dozens of other Pacific atolls, this one is special, because of its history and because of its remoteness. Tom's old radio shack is still there and there is also a bust of him on the trail from the beach to the park rangers' headquarters two Cook Islanders are now always there during the cruising season.
If you're headed there, you must, must read his book. Jul 27, Scargosun rated it it was amazing Shelves: life-changing , always-at-the-ready. To me this was a life changing book. It is told in first person format about how Tom Neale went to live on an uninhabited island in the Suvorov Atoll. He felt that his whole life was leading to that purpose and then he was finally able to do it in his 50's, in the 's. This island was not on a trade route but was an outpost at one point during WWII where a lookout was kept.
After the war, all that was really left was a shack and a couple rustic outbuildings. This was Tom Neale's home. The boo To me this was a life changing book. The book talks about the preparation, the experiences on the island and all the trials and successes that went along with it. The book made me wish I could have met the man who had such perfect insight into what he should do with his life.
Make no mistake, this was not some crazy hermit. He practiced 'batch' living which essentially meant he depended on no one for what he needed. He knew how to do just about everything and was able to apply that to island living. Reading about his daily life, everything from fishing, to creating a garden to surviving 5 hours in the ocean when his small boat capsized drew me in.
It will be one of the books that has a permanent place on my nightstand. Aug 02, Kay rated it really liked it Shelves: biogr-memoir , travelogues , nonfiction. Island of Desire Terrific book for would-be hermits or just those of us who long for solitude. Neale spent years in the South Pacific dreaming of finding a deserted island before he finally took the plunge, so he had plenty of time to prepare.
Still, there were all manner of unexpected setbacks and challenges to face, including a severe bout with fever and an epic storm. One thing I particularly liked about Neale was how doggedly he clung to his dream. While living an unfulfilling life as a shopk Island of Desire Terrific book for would-be hermits or just those of us who long for solitude. While living an unfulfilling life as a shopkeeper in the Pacific, he became enamored with the idea of one particular islet, Motu Tuo.
He dreamed about it for years, and obsessively sought out information about it, even paying a brief and inspirational visit to it at one point. He was fifty when he moved to his island, and considering that he was truly on his own for the next six years, completely cut off from the outside world, his feat seems even more impressive. His soujourn took place during the early s, before such conveniences as cell phones and GPS locators, so there wasn't really any safety net for him.
On the occasions when he was ill or injured, he really had to keep his wits about him to survive. Writing in a straightforward and honest manner, Neale recounts his bouts of loneliness, daily routines, irritations, struggles, and fixations. Obviously a man who enjoyed a challenge, his character and quirks come through in this highly readable, almost breezy account. If you've ever casually wondered how YOU would fare on a desert island, then this book might give you something concrete to think about.
Jul 27, Amerynth rated it it was amazing Shelves: adventure , tropical-island , memoir , nonfiction , read Really compelling story of Tom Neale, who marooned himself on a desert island in the South Pacific and made it his home for more than six years. The book covers Neale's first two stays on the island as he battled the jungle, established a garden, a fowl run and tried to put aside the need for companionship and living by the clock.
His story is warm and engrossing, making this quick read a book to remember. Dec 22, Amr Khalifa Sh. Dayeb added it. I want to go to Suvarov!! Dec 01, Liralen rated it really liked it Shelves: travel , reviewed , z , nonfiction , nature. In the fifties, Neale—then middle-aged—set out to realise a longstanding goal: to live alone on an island in the Pacific.
He ended up doing two stints on the same island, with a six-year period between the first period, roughly a year and a half long, ended when he injured his back; the second period lasted three and a half years. Neale was as good a chance as any to do it—he knew boats, he knew survival skills, he knew the Pacific.
While in content this is rather akin to Castaway , in feel it is more like Adrift : Neale has the same sort of confidence that Callahan does, one born of extensive experience. He comes prepared to grow a garden, for example, but when he realises that there aren't enough bees to pollinate his plants, he doesn't give up In Castaway , Irvine describes a number of bureaucratic hoops in the way of spending a year on an island.
Neale more or less walked around those hoops, perhaps because his adventure took place earlier fifties and sixties. He didn't get permission—he just went.
Interestingly, when he was trying to get back to the island for his second stay, the government did throw up some blocks Neale writes that he'd wondered whether he ought to end the book on his first leaving of the island, but he doesn't—choosing instead to cover most of his second stay as well, if in a more summarised form, as a lot of the basic details are the same.
It's just as well, because it does sound like a different experience: Now that I had had six years to re-live every moment I had spent on the island, and to reflect on the mistakes I had made, I rather ruefully came to the conclusion that I, who loved the leisurely pace of life on the islands, had failed when I reached Suvarov the first time to put into practice the lessons learned during half a lifetime in the South Pacific.
I could understand how it had happened. I had been so proud of my island that I wanted to do everything in a rush. And so, in a curiously ironic way, I had unwittingly imposed on the timeless quality of the island the speed and bustle of modern cities from which I had been so anxious to escape.
He finished just in time for the hurricane season
An Island to Oneself: The Story of Six Years on a Desert Island
Tom Neale did what we all now and then dream of doing - go and live alone on a desert island. For years he planned, read, talked - until the great day when he was landed on his little kingdom, undismayed by the fact that he would have to struggle with the full strength of body and mind to survive. This is how he starts his story: "I was fifty when I went to live alone on Suvarov, after thirty years of roaming the Pacific, and in this story I will try to describe my feelings, try to put into words what was, for me, the most remarkable and worthwhile experience of my whole life. I chose to live in the Pacific Islands because life there moves at the sort of pace which you feel God must have had in mind originally when He made the sun to keep us warm and provided the fruits of the earth for the taking If all this is a little too far, come and visit us at Riverbend Cottage Here is the story of a Swede who lived for 40 years as a recluse on a tiny island in the Torres Strait: The Swedish Robinson Crusoe And here you can read about my meanderings through the mystical island of Bali: ontheroadtobali.
An Island to Oneself revisited
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book.