Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

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Henry Holt and Company, Jan 3, 2012 - History - 448 pages
3 Reviews

A passionate and insightful account by a leading historian of Haiti that traces the sources of the country's devastating present back to its turbulent and traumatic history

Even before the 2010 earthquake destroyed much of the country, Haiti was known as a benighted place of poverty and corruption. Maligned and misunderstood, the nation has long been blamed by many for its own wretchedness. But as acclaimed historian Laurent Dubois makes clear, Haiti's troubled present can only be understood by examining its complex past. The country's difficulties are inextricably rooted in its founding revolution—the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world; the hostility that this rebellion generated among the colonial powers surrounding the island nation; and the intense struggle within Haiti itself to define its newfound freedom and realize its promise.

Dubois vividly depicts the isolation and impoverishment that followed the 1804 uprising. He details how the crushing indemnity imposed by the former French rulers initiated a devastating cycle of debt, while frequent interventions by the United States—including a twenty-year military occupation—further undermined Haiti's independence. At the same time, Dubois shows, the internal debates about what Haiti should do with its hard-won liberty alienated the nation's leaders from the broader population, setting the stage for enduring political conflict. Yet as Dubois demonstrates, the Haitian people have never given up on their struggle for true democracy, creating a powerful culture insistent on autonomy and equality for all.

Revealing what lies behind the familiar moniker of "the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere," this indispensable book illuminates the foundations on which a new Haiti might yet emerge.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - StephenBarkley - LibraryThing

I'm not a dispassionate reader. I have been to Haiti twice and, alongside my wife, have participated in humanitarian projects and worship services. We love the people and the country. That's why this ... Read full review

HAITI: The Aftershocks of History

User Review  - Kirkus

A vigorous retelling of Haiti's history intended to revive the promise of the world's first black-led republic.This is not a story of the decline of a small nation, but an inspiring account of the ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Independence
15
The Citadel
52
Stalemate
89
The Sacrifice
135
Looking North
165
Occupation
204
Second Independence
265
An Immaterial Being
311
Epilogue
360
Acknowledgments
415
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About the author (2012)

Laurent Dubois is the author of Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2004. The Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University, Dubois has written on Haiti for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and the New Yorker Web site, among other publications, and is the codirector of the Haiti Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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