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SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS

A Caribbean Islands Cruise aboard Sea Cloud II

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXCRB144. Buy these 4 items as a set for $69 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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My Favorite Plant, Writers and Gardeners on the Plants They Love

My Favorite Plant, Writers and Gardeners on the Plants They Love

by Jamaica Kincaid

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 1998
  • HARD COVER
  • 329 PAGES

An anthology of essays on plants and gardening from contemporary authors as well as luminaries of the past. This handsome, little book features selections by (among many others) D.H. Lawrence and William Carlos Williams. (GEN126, $20.00)

A Traveller's History of the Caribbean

A Traveller's History of the Caribbean

by James Ferguson

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

A concise history of the Caribbean Islands, beginning with a description of their formation and geologic attributes, carrying through to the first civilizations in the region, and ending with the modern tourism boom. (CRB42, $14.95)

Insight Guide Caribbean: The Lesser Antilles

Insight Guide Caribbean: The Lesser Antilles

by Sarah Cameron | Insight Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

This handsome guide gives a profusely illustrated over-view of the region, featuring essays on natural history, politics and culture, hundreds of photos and maps, as well as useful travel notes. (CRB02, $24.99)

Lesser Antilles Map

Lesser Antilles Map

by Nelles

  • 2007
  • MAP

A map of the Lesser Antilles, with detailed insets of every important island. (CRB05, $13.95)

 
Caribbean by Cruise Ship

Caribbean by Cruise Ship


by Anne Vipond

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

An excellent guide to the region with detailed port maps, suggested excursions, color photographs and a pull-out map of all the Caribbean. (CRB146, $19.95)

Eyewitness Guide Caribbean

Eyewitness Guide Caribbean


by Polly Thomas

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 552 PAGES

Another gem in the Eyewitness series, this superb guide -- packed with photographs, illustrations, and maps -- includes the the best places to dive, snorkel, sail and play golf. (CRB251, $30.00)

The Spice Necklace, My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life

The Spice Necklace, My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life


by Ann Vanderhoof

  • FOOD
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 448 PAGES

Vanderhoof (An Embarrassment of Mangoes) is back aboard her sailboat in the Caribbean in these latest encounters with the characters and cuisine of the islands. She pairs lively accounts with 71 recipes she learned along the way. (CRB260, $14.95)

A Brief History of the Caribbean, From the Arawak and the Carib to the Present

A Brief History of the Caribbean, From the Arawak and the Carib to the Present


by Jan Rogozinski

  • HISTORY
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 324 PAGES

Written for a scholarly audience, this concise history presents the full sweep of Caribbean geography, culture and commerce from aboriginal inhabitants through European colonization and modern developments. (CRB38, $20.00)

A Continent of Islands, Searching for the Caribbean Destiny

A Continent of Islands, Searching for the Caribbean Destiny


by Mark Kurlansky

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 324 PAGES

A wonderfully observed social history of the Caribbean by a far-ranging journalist and favorite author. Kurlansky has a knack for honing in on the small details that make the Caribbean culturally unique, offering frank insight on music, religion, healthcare and the influence of the United States. (CRB12, $17.95)

A Small Place

A Small Place


by Jamaica Kincaid

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 81 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Antigua-born Kincaid meditates on the politics, history and culture of the islands in these remarkable short essays. A useful antidote to the usual fun-in-the-sun approach of the local tourist office, the book shines a light on the poverty, corruption and startling beauty of the Caribbean. (CRB03, $13.00)

Sugar Changed the World

Sugar Changed the World


by Marc Aronson | Marina Budhos

  • HISTORY
  • 2010
  • HARD COVER
  • 176 PAGES
  • MIDDLE READERS (Age 9-12)

With a focus on slavery, a husband-and-wife team recasts 200 years of American history into a meticulously researched, well illustrated and absorbing history of sugar for ages 9-12. (GEN989, $20.00)

The Sugar Barons

The Sugar Barons


by Matthew Parker

  • HISTORY
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

Parker interweaves the histories of the Caribbean, the Industrial Revolution and the British Empire with the human stories of visitors and slaves, overseers and soldiers and families whose fortunes rose and fell on the sugar of the West Indies. (CRB277, $20.00)

Under the Black Flag, The Romance and Reality of Life Among the Pirates

Under the Black Flag, The Romance and Reality of Life Among the Pirates


by David Cordingly

  • HISTORY
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 296 PAGES

Meet Blackbeard and Captain Kidd along with lesser-known rogues and brigands in this rip-roaring portrait of pirates of the Caribbean. (CRB35, $16.00)

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton


by Ron Chernow

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 818 PAGES

An engaging biography of the largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean who rose to become George Washington's aide-de-camp and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. (USE536, $20.00)

American Empress, The Life and Times of Marjorie Merriweather Post


by Nancy Rubin

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 484 PAGES

A sweeping history of the dramatic life of heiress, business tycoon (she ran C.W. Post after her father's suicide), socialite and philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973), a fixture in social circles of the 1920s and 30s, whose husband E.F. Hutton gave her the yacht Sea Cloud. (USA427, $29.95)

The Island

The Island


by John Edgar Wideman

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2003
  • HARD COVER
  • 192 PAGES

Novelist Wideman explores the Creole experience and heritage in the Caribbean in this slim travelogue, which sends him to Martinique. (CRB158, $20.00)

The Middle Passage, The Caribbean Revisited

The Middle Passage, The Caribbean Revisited


by V.S. Naipaul

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 232 PAGES

Novelist and travel writer Naipaul tackles the history of the Caribbean and northern South America in this incisive portrait. With chapters on Trinidad, British Guiana (Guyana), Suriname, Martinique and Jamaica. (CRB11, $16.00)

A Caribbean Mystery

A Caribbean Mystery


by Agatha Christie

  • MYSTERY
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 216 PAGES

Miss Marple solves a series of mysterious deaths on the Caribbean island where she is vacationing in this Agatha Christie classic, originally published in 1964. (CRB207, $12.99)

A House for Mr. Biswas

A House for Mr. Biswas


by V.S. Naipaul

  • LITERATURE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 564 PAGES

Naipaul's comic masterpiece. Described as Dickensian in scope, it tells the story of an outsider struggling to find a place for himself in the complex society of Trinidad. (CRB20, $16.95)

At the Bottom of the River

At the Bottom of the River


by Jamaica Kincaid

  • LITERATURE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 82 PAGES

Ten short stories capturing the essence of Jamaica Kincaid's childhood in Antigua. Originally published in the New Yorker, the collection evokes the rhythms of work and play in the Caribbean. (CRB19, $13.00)

Easy in the Islands, Stories

Easy in the Islands, Stories


by Bob Shacochis

  • LITERATURE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 214 PAGES

A collection of short stories and one of the most evocative depictions of daily life on the islands. Shacochis's characters, from islanders and interlopers, all ring true and his writing is a graceful tribute to the music, politics and cultural quirks of the Caribbean. (CRB78, $13.00)

Omeros

Omeros


by Derek Walcott

  • LITERATURE
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 325 PAGES

This epic poem in five parts by Nobel Prize winner Walcott is an inventive and ambitious retelling of the Odyssey set on the island of St. Lucia. (CRB272, $18.00)

Salt

Salt


by Earl Lovelace

  • LITERATURE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 260 PAGES

This lyrical, absorbing novel draws from the mythology and history of Trinidad to tell a modern story of the island and an unlikely man who rises to become a voice of the people. (CRB105, $15.00)

The Pyrates

The Pyrates


by George MacDonald Fraser

  • LITERATURE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 416 PAGES

Fraser shows his usual high-voltage mix of research and verve in this swashbuckling tale including a cast of thousands, a deliciously absurd plot and absolute historical accuracy. (CRB39, $16.95)

Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea


by Jean Rhys

  • LITERATURE
  • 1982
  • PAPER
  • 189 PAGES

This classic novel by Dominican-born Jean Rhys, steamy both in its lush, tropical setting and in its plot, imagines the encounter between Edward Rochester and his mad wife -- a riveting prequel to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. (CRB21, $13.95)

The Victory Garden Companion


by Michael Weishan

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2006
  • HARD COVER
  • 295 PAGES

The companion to a popular PBS series, written by the show's host and veteran gardening writer Michael Weishan, this handy guide is full of straightforward and fun tips for both novices and experienced gardeners. (GEN387, $29.95)

Wild Caribbean, The Hidden Wonders of the World's Most Famous Islands

Wild Caribbean, The Hidden Wonders of the World's Most Famous Islands


by Michael Bright

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES

Nicely illustrated, this companion book to the BBC series on the natural history of the Caribbean includes an overview of the plants, animals and underwater life of the islands from Cuba to Trinidad and Tobago. (CRB206, $25.00)

200 Conspicuous, Unusual, or Economically Important Tropical Plants of the Caribbean

200 Conspicuous, Unusual, or Economically Important Tropical Plants of the Caribbean


by John Kingsbury

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 1988
  • PAPER
  • 220 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE
  • >

A general purpose plant identification guide to Caribbean shores, also useful for subtropical Florida. Features color photographs and short plant descriptions. (CRB01, $20.00)

Caribbean Birds

Caribbean Birds


by James Kavanaugh

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2003
  • PLASTIC CARD

A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered Caribbean birds. (CRB235, $6.95)

Fishwatcher's Field Guide Caribbean

Fishwatcher's Field Guide Caribbean


by Idaz Greenberg

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • PLASTIC CARD

A convenient double-sided plastic card showing 75 reef fish of the Caribbean. (DIV11, $7.50)

Marine Invertebrates of Florida, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean

Marine Invertebrates of Florida, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean


by Idaz Greenberg

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • PLASTIC CARD

A convenient double-sided plastic card showing 61 invertebrates of the Caribbean. (DIV12, $7.50)

Reef Fish Identification Caribbean

Reef Fish Identification Caribbean


by Paul Humann

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2002
  • FLEXI-BOUND
  • 400 PAGES

This definitive guide for underwater enthusiasts features 670 stunning color photographs of all the fishes of the tropical Atlantic. We also recommend Gulf of California (BJA39), Galapagos (DIV04) and Tropical Pacific (DIV49) in the same series, $39.95 each. (DIV03, $39.95)

Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life

Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life


by Paul Humann

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 80 PAGES

Humann's compact guide illustrates Caribbean fishes, corals, invertebrates and plants commonly encountered in shallower water. (DIV02, $14.95)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.