Nathaniel's Nutmeg : How One Man's Courage Changed the Course of History, Paperback

Nathaniel's Nutmeg : How One Man's Courage Changed the Course of History Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


In 1616, an English adventurer, Nathaniel Courthope, stepped ashore on a remote island in the East Indies on a secret mission - to persuade the islanders of Run to grant a monopoly to England over their nutmeg, a fabulously valuable spice in Europe.

This infuriated the Dutch, who were determined to control the world's nutmeg supply. For five years Courthope and his band of thirty men were besieged by a force one hundred times greater - and his heroism set in motion the events that led to the founding of the greatest city on earth. A beautifully told adventure story and a fascinating depiction of exploration in the seventeenth century, NATHANIEL'S NUTMEG sheds a remarkable light on history.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages, Maps and integrated illustraions
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: historical, political & military
  • ISBN: 9780340696767



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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

This book touched me deeply, and I now find myself seeing the humble nutmeg in a new light, along with a rich desire to visit the Spice Islands and experience more about naval life in the tall ships.

Review by

I loved this book, although a history of the spice wars in South East Asia it reads like a novel. It isn't at all the story Nathaniel Courthope, who appears only toward the end, and any claim he may have to having changed East Asia seems slight to me. Although full of historical detail, Milton still makes Goodies of the British and Baddies of the Dutch, although from what I can see none come out of this with much credit. Milton has a talent for both showing the full horror of the life of sailors, explorers and pirates and for making you want abandon your safe but dull life and set off for the Spice Islands.

Review by

The story of the the first Europeans to reach and trade with the "spice islands" of what is now eastern Indonesian. This should be a gift to a writer of popular history - the fabulous prices paid for nutmeg and cloves, the way the sea route broke the stranglehold of the Arab traders - but if there is scope for THE popular history - this book isn't it. Milton manages to choke a good story. He even has a cute new angle - that Holland traded Manhattan for a tiny spice island - but still can't bring it all together into an interesting narrative. What a shame. Read April 2010.

Review by

Shipwrecks, piracy, torture and murders abound in this story of the bloody struggle between the English and Dutch East India companies for control of the lucrative spice trade in the early 17th century.

Review by

A great read and a bit of a history lesson too!

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