Calidris Reads: U.S. Virgin Islands

Reading and traveling are two of my favorite things, so it’s a joy to combine the two. Aside from being a voracious reader of travel guides, I also love to read books written by authors from places that I visit, or set in those countries. In Calidris Reads, I will briefly introduce you to these books and provide my personal rating from 1 to 5 knots (Terrible to Must-read).

Night of the Silent Drums

The true and gripping tale of
the St John, Virgin Island slave rebellion


John Lorenzo Anderson

Read for: U.S. Virgin Islands

3 knots Recommended


First sentence: “In the hush before this moonlit tropic dawn not even the gecko stirs.”

Have you ever heard of the slave rebellion that took place in 1733 on the tiny Caribbean island now called St John? Neither had I until I found this nonfiction book. It is not a happy or pleasant story, but it details the horrific place of slavery in the history of this seemingly idyllic island. Probably not what you want to read while relaxing on the beach; maybe tackle it before you go as a bit of background history to the sugar-mill ruins that are scattered around the Virgin Islands.

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  1. Aha … a tale of the not-so-virginal Virgin Islands, I see. Caribbean colonial history is full of stories of sugar, rum, pirates, smuggling, slavery, tyranny, oppression, and colonial powers vying for control. Have you ever heard of the War of Jenkins’ Ear in the 1740’s? A fascinating tale, and an earful, for sure!

    • I have not heard of Jenkins or his (presumably “his”) auditory appendage. Did all his piratical but sweet oppressed colonial smuggler friends sit around drinking rum and shouting “‘Ears to Jenkins! What a guy! ‘Ear, ‘ear!” ???

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