Fr Lawrence E. Attard published his first book on Maltese Migration in 1983. Since then he has written no less than six books on the subject. He is now an acknowledged authority on the history of Maltese migration. His preparation for such a task had its beginning when he attended three universities and specialised in Modern History.
There has been a considerable feedback to Fr Attard’s books from diverse sources which include leaders of Maltese communities abroad, general readers and a number of scholars working in the same field. Some of the books have been read on local radio stations and on foreign ones where there are numerous Maltese audiences. Extracts have been put on the internet.
Two reasons have compelled the author to write this book. In the first place he was asked by his publisher to do so because the first three books have run out of stock. Secondly, because since his last publication, Profiles in Maltese Migration, which came out in 2003, the author has put further research into his work and was able to extend even further those historical periods which he has till now studied. It is for this reason that Beyond our Shores bears the subtitle: A Panorama of Maltese Migration. Although the reader will come across some information already printed in the previous books he will be surprised by new fact s presented by the author.
In fact Beyond our Shores goes way back to the sixteenth century when hardy Maltese had tried to settle in the European part of the Western Mediterranean. A few had found themselves in Moslem regions, more often than not as captives or slaves. There were attempts at striking a presence in the Caribbean and South America. On the other end of the time spectrum, this book reaches out to the first years of the third millennium. Organised emigration from the Maltese islands is, thankfully, a memory from the past.
Those familiar with the books of Fr Attard will not expect a detailed chronicle of past events. Nor will there be any special reference to individuals or particular organisations. Attard is known for his preferences and style. He prefers to include Maltese history within the framework of international events because he believes that whatever happened to the Maltese people throughout their long and chequered history has been conditioned by what was going on in the wider world beyond their shores.
Scholarship and experience go to make this book a compelling work to read and keep. Its pages with the accompanying references, notes, glossary and photographs will prove a cherished addition to those who love Melitensia.