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Book review


GeoJournal 56: 241–242, 2002. © 2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands. Peter Redfield, Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana. University of California Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2000. 361 pp., 21 b/w photographs, 4 maps, 4 tables, bibliography, index. US $55 cloth; US $22.50 paper. ISBN 0-520-21984-8 (cloth); ISBN 0-52021985-6 (paper). This book examines the meanings of ‘place’ found in the nineteenth-century penal colony of French Guiana and in the twentieth-century space centre subsequently developed in that territory. Although written by an anthropologist, the subject matter is clearly one that merits the attention of geographers. This description, however, hardly begins to portray adequately the experience of reading this book – an experience I can only liken to that of watching an adroit ‘skipper’ of stones throwing pebbles across the surface of a lake. Each pebble has been carefully chosen and is brightly illumined for an instant as it catches the sun (and our attention) before it careens across the water. The technique is flawless, exhilarating to watch. But, when it is over, have we been captivated simply by the performance of the moment? Have the pebbles left ripples or sunk like



GeoJournalSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 1, 2002

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025125619945

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