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Notes on the Geography of Micronesia (Pohnpei): Pohnpei: Photo 1

world pictures Micronesia (Pohnpei): Pohnpei

Funny that more tourists don't come (the figure is a mere thousand annually). Perhaps that's because the island is so poorly known. The last time any writer worth an agent paid much attention was in the decade straddling 1960, when at least four authors wrote books with chapters about Pohnpei.

One was Robert Trumbull, a long-time correspondent for The New York Times. Another was E.J. Kahn, Jr., a New Yorker staff writer. The third was Tokyo-based Willard Price, who had previously visited and written about Pohnpei in the 1930s but who had another go 30 years later. The fourth was John Wesley Coulter, an American geography professor who got around. His Pohnpei chapter is more informative than any of the others, but his book was probably the least read of the four. Come to think of it, he probably didn't have an agent, either.

Why the declining interest? Maybe it's because the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was never a hot topic back in Washington, and whatever American interest had been kindled by pride of superceding Japanese rule was annihilated when the islands became an independent nation in 1986 (and five years a member of the United Nations). Pohnpei became one of the four Federated States of Micronesia, proudly independent but also the lucky signatory of a group of Compacts of Free Association that, among other things, still permit Micronesians to move to and work in the United States.

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