In the bestselling tradition of In the Heart of the Sea, The Colony, “an impressively researched” (Rocky Mountain News) account of the history of America’s only leper colony located on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, is “an utterly engrossing look at a heartbreaking chapter” (Booklist) in American history and a moving tale of the extraordinary people who endured it.
Beginning in 1866 and continuing for over a century, more than eight thousand people suspected of having leprosy were forcibly exiled to the Hawaiian island of Molokai -- the longest and deadliest instance of medical segregation in American history. Torn from their homes and families, these men, women, and children were loaded into shipboard cattle stalls and abandoned in a lawless place where brutality held sway. Many did not have leprosy, and many who did were not contagious, yet all were ensnared in a shared nightmare.
Here, for the first time, John Tayman reveals the complete history of the Molokai settlement and its unforgettable inhabitants. It's an epic of ruthless manhunts, thrilling escapes, bizarre medical experiments, and tragic, irreversible error. Carefully researched and masterfully told, The Colony is a searing tale of individual bravery and extraordinary survival, and stands as a testament to the power of faith, compassion, and the human spirit.
From 1866 through 1969, the Hawaiian and American governments banished nearly 9,000 leprosy sufferers into exile on a peninsula on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Former Outside editor Tayman crafts a tale of fear, endurance and hope in telling the story of these unfortunate victims of ignorance (leprosy is caused by a simple bacteria and isn't nearly as contagious as was long believed). After a smallpox epidemic wiped out a fifth of the Hawaiian population in the 1850s, leprosy was seen as the next cataclysmic threat, and drastic measures were taken. For more than 100 years, anyone diagnosed with the disease was taken to the remote colony. Initially, conditions were horrible, with few services or proper medical treatment. Pushed to their limit and fueled with potent moonshine, the internees frequently rioted, causing overseers to enforce cruel laws. Later, as science and social thinking evolved, conditions improved and many in the settlement lived lives of near normalcy. Drawing on contemporary sources and eyewitness accounts of the still surviving members of the colony, Tayman has created a fitting monument to the strength and character of the castoffs in particular, and human beings as a whole. B&w photos.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This recount on leperasey ( pardon my spellin) is fantastic it goes into so much detail what these people hadto go through
I’ve read every book by Cottam but this one was a huge disappointment. Dry, plodding, and, frankly, boring as hell!
The Wrong Author to Tell This Story.
I really wanted to like this book, and until I read the Notes section at the end of the main narrative I did. The style and pace were good and easy to understand. It's a story that is very interesting, tragic, and sad yet also inspiring. But then the author admits that upon seeing the editorial decisions he chose to make, two of the living former residents of the Molokai'i settlement did not want to work with him and did not want to be included in the book. Nevertheless Mr. Tayman refused to respect their wishes and did, in fact, include and identity them. These people were forced into the settlement on Molokai'i against their wishes, and now Mr. Tayman forced them to be included in his book. I believe they have long since earned their right to peaceful anonymity and I question the ethics of Tayman to disregard their wishes. A better author could have written an account just as fascinating and touching as this without needing to offend the very people who had to endure the cruelties of these events. This is an important part of history that should definitely be included in any well-rounded discussion about human rights in America and it's territories. But Mr. Tayman has shown that he is not the right author to properly tell this story and give his subjects the respect and sensitivity they deserve.