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The Colony


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About the Author

John Tayman is editor at large of Men's Health. The former deputy editor of Outside magazine, he is an award-winning editor and writer, and has served as executive editor of New England Monthly, editor at large of Men's Journal, and contributing editor to Life, GQ, People, Business 2.0, and other publications. He lives in Northern California. Visit his website at


Founded in 1866 on a rugged Hawaiian island with the steepest cliffs imaginable, the colony of Molokai was America's one and only leper colony. With a four-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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. Agent, David McCormick. (Jan. 3) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

A must-read. -- Time
Impressively researched . . . at once eye-opening, shocking, and inspiring . . . the kind of book readers are sure to tell their friends about. -- Rocky Mountain News
Riveting. Tayman can stand toe-to-toe with Erik Larson (Devil in the White City) in his ability to weave meticulously researched material into a fascinating narrative. He certainly can keep a reader up at night. -- Detroit Free Press
Tayman reconstructs a fascinating history. -- The New Yorker
Tayman's noble account makes you want to stand and applaud. -- Mary Roach, The New York Times Book Review

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