Up Pohnpei: A quest to reclaim the soul of football by leading the world’s ultimate underdogs to glory by Paul Watson

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After one too many late night discussions, football journalist Paul Watson and his mate Matthew Conrad decide to find the world’s worst national team, become naturalised citizens of that country and play for them – achieving their joint boyhood dream of playing international football and winning a ‘cap’. They are thrilled when Wikipedia leads them to Pohnpei, a tiny, remote island in the Pacific whose long-defunct football team is described as ‘the weakest in the world’. They contact Pohnpei’s Football Association and discover what it needs most urgently is leadership. So Paul and Matt travel thousands of miles, leaving behind jobs, families and girlfriends to train a rag-tag bunch of novice footballers who barely understand the rules of the game. Up Pohnpei tells the story of their quest to coach the team and eventually, organise an international fixture – Pohnpei’s first since a 16-1 defeat many years ago. With no funding, a population whose obesity rate is 90 percent and toad-infested facilities in one of the world’s wettest climates, their journey is beset by obstacles from the outset. Part travelogue, part quest, Up Pohnpei shows how the passion and determination of two young men can change the face of football – and the lives of total strangers – on the other side of the world.

Up Pohnpei: A quest to reclaim the soul of football by leading the world’s ultimate underdogs to glory

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes

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In 1787, the twenty-eighth year of the reign of King George III, the British Government sent a fleet to colonize Australia-An epic description of the brutal transportation of men, women and children out of Georgian Britain into a horrific penal system which was to be the precursor to the Gulag and was the origin of Australia. The Fatal Shore is the prize-winning, scholarly, brilliantly entertaining narrative that has given its true history to Australia.

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Solomon Time: Adventures In The South Pacific by Will Randall

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Echoing the experiences of Robert Louis Stevenson – who spent several years in the South Pacific – here is the story of a contemporary writer who lived in and came to love the Solomon Islands. Most unexpectedly, Will Randall, once a happy schoolteacher, found himself dispatched to a small village on a not very large island, far out in the vastness of the South Pacific. His mission (although he had hardly chosen to accept it): – to fulfil the dying wishes of the ‘Commander’ and help the local people set up a money-making community project. The Solomon Islands, islands lost in time – Solomon Time; these little gems of land scattered across the ocean, must be the last sanctuary on our shrivelled planet not yet overshadowed by the Golden Arches or encapsulated in a Coca-Cola bubble. Everyone has dreamed at some time of living on a desert island. Here is the unvarnished truth. Sharks, turtles, a band of unruly chickens, a cast of extraordinary characters, and a bird called the Spangled Drongo, accompany Will Randall through some of the most fascinating and certainly funniest scenes to be found in travel writing since Gerald Durrell.

Where The Hell Is Tuvalu?: How I Became The Law Man Of The World’s Fourth Smallest Country by Philip Ells

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Everyone dreams of ditching the rat-race, jumping off the treadmill, turning their life on its head and doing something worthwhile, but Philip Ells turned that fantasy into a reality. Imagining turquoise seas, sandy beaches and lush tropical trees, Ells flies off to the Pacific island state of Tuvalu armed only with his Voluntary Service Overseas briefing and his hopes of finding paradise. Nothing, however, could quite prepare him for the reality of life on Tuvalu. In this hilarious, dramatic and insightful book, Philip Ells describes with self-deprecating wit the collision between himself and the Pacific Islanders’ sometimes extraordinary behaviour.

A Land Of Two Halves: An Accidental Tour Of New Zealand by Joe Bennett

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After ten years in New Zealand, Joe Bennett asked himself what on earth he was doing there. Other than his dogs, what was it about these two small islands on the edge of the world that had kept him – an otherwise restless traveller – for really much longer than they seemed to deserve? Bennett thought he’d better pack his bag and find out. Hitching around both the intriguingly named North and South Islands, with an eye for oddity and a taste for conversation, Bennett began to remind himself of the reasons New Zealand is quietly seducing the rest of the world.
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30 Days In Sydney: The Writer And The City by Peter Carey

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With admirable enterprise, Bloomsbury books have asked a number of top writers to describe the city they love most; 30 Days in Sydney represents Peter Carey’s turn with a unique take on the Aussie metropolis.
Subtitled “a wildly distorted account” it is pretty much that: an oblique, poignant, entertaining and rather candid look at the city. Using his prize-winning novelist’s eye for telling detail, and the objectivity of the relative outsider (Carey has spent the last decade in New York, and he hails from Melbourne), the author shows that Sydney is not just about sun, sports, gay sex and Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s also about endangered wildlife, painful history, militant agnosticism and, above all, a wilful, dogged, brave, funny, cantankerous citizenry. As Carey trots around town we get to meet a few of these hard-bitten “diggers”; their individuality and orneriness are deftly sketched.
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The Sex Lives Of Cannibals: Adrift In The Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost

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At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost—who had been pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock of life by racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs—decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.
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