Cover: Divided Island: Faction and Unity on Saint Pierre, from Harvard University PressCover: Divided Island in E-DITION

Divided Island

Faction and Unity on Saint Pierre

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674494169

Publication Date: 01/01/1969

212 pages

15 halftones, 1 map, 12 tables


Available from De Gruyter »

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

A small group of islands off the coast of Newfoundland—Saint Pierre, Île aux Marins, and Miquelon-Langlade—comprises France’s last territorial possession in North America. Most of the population lives on the island of Saint Pierre in the town of the same name, which is the archipelago’s only real harbor. During the last two centuries, various issues have placed the inhabitants of Saint Pierre in opposing groups, but no question divided them so precisely along latent social and economic lines as did the choice required of them in 1940–1941. The nature of the Free French–Vichy confrontation touched Saint Pierre society at its most vulnerable point.

Students of France will find that the story of Saint Pierre is in many ways the story of twentieth-century France in microcosm. But this fascinating account also provides a case study in the ideological repercussions of social and economic change. Using a combination of anthropological fieldwork and historical research, William Christian examines the social ideas, social conflicts, and economy of the island from 1900 to the present. He shows that the Pétainist–Gaullist division was a culminating step in a trend that had been going on since the beginning of the century, the direct result of economic decline, rising aspirations, and the substitution of government welfare for a system of private aid and credit. The division is analyzed in terms of social structure in conjunction with essential differences in the world views of the two parties. The author illustrates the stages in the evolution of personal and group quarrels and develops the concept of an “information set,” a social unit defined by the communication and sharing of private information.

In the conclusion of this lively social history, Christian discusses the role of the idea of the “community as a family” and its decline in Saint Pierre during the last sixty years.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Photograph of the book Fearless Women against red/white striped background

A Conversation with Elizabeth Cobbs about Fearless Women

For Women’s History Month, we are highlighting the work of Elizabeth Cobbs, whose new book Fearless Women shows how the movement for women’s rights has been deeply entwined with the history of the United States since its founding. Cobbs traces the lives of pathbreaking women who, inspired by American ideals, fought for the cause in their own ways