On a sweltering day in July, 1878 the men of the 42nd Royal Highlanders - the Black Watch - waded ashore at Larnaca Bay to begin the British occupation of Cyprus. Today, Britons on sunbeds colonise the same stretch of sand, the latest visitors to an island which has long held a special place in the English imagination - and a controversial role in British imperial ambitions. Drawing on largely unpublished material, Tabitha Morgan reflects on why successive administrations failed, so catastrophically, to engage with their Cypriot subjects, and how social segregation, confusion about Cypriot identity and the poor calibre of so many administrators all contributed to the bloody conflict that led, finally, to Cypriot independence in 1960. Sweet and Bitter Island explores for the first time the unique bond between Britain and Cyprus and the complex, sometimes tense, relationship between the two nations which endures to the present day. Extensively researched and lyrically written, this is the definitive portrait of British colonial life on the Mediterranean island.
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Tabitha Morgan read English at Cambridge and has spent the last decade reporting on Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean for the BBC. Before moving to Cyprus she worked as a BBC radio producer, making features and historical documentaries for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service. She is married to the writer and journalist Gerald Butt.
Table of Contents:
Chapter One: Where Are the Forests? 1878- 1882
Chapter Two: The Whitest of White Elephants. 1882-1890
Chapter Three: A High Degree of Mental Culture. 1900
Chapter Four: Softening our rough peasantry. 1900-1914
Chapter Five: Clauson Will Do the Best He Can. 1914-1918
Chapter Six: Showing Benevolent Neutrality. 1916-1919
Chapter Seven: Gentle Somnambulance. 1918-28
Chapter Eight: No More Mixed Tea Parties. 1926-1938
Chapter Nine: Bread Stuffed with raisins. 1939-1941
Chapter Ten: Stripped for War. 1941- 1942
Chapter Eleven: The Levant Fishing Patrol and the Angelic Scheme 1942-1945
Chapter Twelve: The Great Liberator. 1945-55
Chapter Thirteen: A Child's Game of Pretend 1955-1958
Chapter Fourteen: Wheel on the Idealist 1958-60
A really wonderful book. Sweet and Bitter Island presents a fair and balanced account of Britain's tangled relationship with Cyprus - of special interest to those, like myself, who had a walk-on part near the end of the story as soldiers on active service.' - Martin Bell 'I found Tabitha Morgan's 'Sweet and Bitter Island' a delight. It's that happy combination: a book about a fascinating subject that is authoritative and yet intensely lively and interesting at the same time. I loved it, and felt much better informed as a result.' - John Simpson 'This is the Cyprus I remember as a boy in Nicosia - a history that seemed almost to be lost, except in memory. Tabitha Morgan has brought it back to life.' - Matthew Parris
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