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The Rainy Season

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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  157 ratings  ·  23 reviews
In the tradition of Joan Didion and Paul Theroux, this highly acclaimed writer/reporter offers a vivid portrait of today's Haiti--where during the day the streets are filled with bustling markets while at night they are filled with gunfire.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 1st 1990 by Simon & Schuster (NYC) (first published 1989)
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Petra X smokin' hot
With this sort of sociological book about a place with an interesting history, people and events, the author does a lot of research, both from media and in the field, and carefully looks at the facts and sees the bigger picture and that helps formulate what kind of book they are going to write. Each chapter then will be devoted to a certain aspect and sources, whether people, direct observation or media will be used to illustrate the author's point of view.

However, some authors have an agenda al
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Jlbutler55
Well written book about Haiti after the fall of Baby Doc up until the rise of Duvalier. Modern vignettes are interspersed with historical perspectives on Haiti.
Purple Iris
I randomly came across this in my aunt's library today, so I figured I'd skim through it and see what all the fuss was about. I'm not impressed so far, but I've only just begun. This could turn out to be an interesting portrait of foreign journalists in Haiti...

A couple of weeks later:

I finally decided on a rating. It was tough. This book is a good read in that it definitely kept me interested and has lots of behind the scenes info about the Haitian political scene. But so much of it annoyed me
...more
Erik Graff
May 29, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Americans
Recommended to Erik by: Erik Badger
Shelves: history
Some years after graduating from Shimer College my youngest stepbrother, Erik Badger, got hired for an education project in Haiti on the recommendation of his undergraduate mentor. Knowing no Creole and facing the prospect of working primarily with the rural poor, his job began with months of total immersion, alone in a small village where no one spoke English. It worked and he went to work.

During most of the period Willentz writes about the official language of Haiti was French; the ruling clas
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Sharon
This book explores 3 important years in Haiti's history: 1987-89, when Duvalier left, military juntas seized control of the government, and Aristide started his rise to prominence.

Although the book was published before Aristide won the popular election in 1991 (and therefore misses the most important elements of Aristide's relationship with Haiti), it's still fascinating to read a before-he-was-famous account of such a significant and controversial figure. Wilentz's observations are often en poi
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Sheila
Fabulous on-the-ground, well-written account of Haiti from the fall of Baby Doc through a few turbulent years after. Wilentz covers her story from the found up, as opposed to being focused on interviewing / following wealthy / powerful people. She respects Haitians and provides many wonderful accounts of real, intelligent, poor people struggling through adversity and fighting for change. I have followed the Haitian struggle for democracy and was well-aware of Aristide, but this book provides suc ...more
Dennis Fischman
Amy Wilentz writes about Haiti 1978-89 like a latter-day Charles Dickens, with dozens of major and minor characters and an eye for the broad sweep of society and history all at once. Only she is also versed in novels by Haitian authors, previous histories of the nation, folk sayings, voudoun, and the bad boy behavior of American reporters. There is nothing quite like this book.

Readers who never supported Aristide or who cannot forgive the violence carried out by some of his supporters will fault
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Jennifer
I really enjoyed Wilentz's account of Haiti back in the 80's. This book is very political in nature, since Wilentz was a journalist in Port-au-Prince for several years beginning after the fall of "Baby Doc" Duvalier. However she intersperses her work with stories of life and struggles in the countryside. Her work is wonderfully personalized with individual characters she has met, including a lot of interviews with a young Aristide. While not a complete history of the country, I thought it provid ...more
Isreal
I fell asleep so many times. I mean, understand what happened and that there are so many puppet leaders. There are so many native puppet leaders that are thieves
and the people starve.
Stephanie
Not what I would call neutral reporting - there's a definite political slant here. But still one of the best books I've read about Haiti's politics, by someone who really gets the culture.
Marc L
Een prachtig en ook heel informatief boek. Onmiddellijk de juiste toon: afwisseling van vooral beschrijving en evocatie, met af en toe analyse. Lichtelijk romantiserend en idealistisch, pro-Aristide.
Soms bijna profetische inslag: Aristide is de hoofdfiguur, zijn verhaal valt gelijk met dat van Haiti zelf, hij is de sleutel om het land te kunnen begrijpen. Ook opvallend: de zeer kritische inslag tegenover het Amerikaanse beleid.
Chi Chi
A good and interesting read that is a journalistic acount of Wilentz's travels in Haiti in the late 1980s. It's a little long-winded, but I pretty much knew nothing of Haiti's history going into the book, and this definitely filled in some gaps.
Pooja
Wilentz's powers of perception and openness make this a must-read for anyone interested in Haiti, the post-colonial world, or journalism. But it's also a story about the effect of dystopia on a sensitive, first-world writer.
David Cerruti
Apr 04, 2010 David Cerruti rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to David by: An American journalist in Haiti
Shelves: history, haiti
The Rainy Season is being reissued next week by Simon & Schuster, with a new, post-earthquake introduction. For an understanding of the Haitian people, this book is excellent. A joy to read.
Peter
Very well written. A good primer to begin to understand Haiti in particular and some of the concepts of US international aid in general. I can't wait to read Farewell Fred Voodoo.
Megan
I read about a third of this one and really enjoyed it, but I spilled soup on it and probably won't finish the rest anytime soon. Maybe I'll come back to it, maybe not...
Phillip Welshans
Solid introduction to Haitian history between the ouster of Jean-Claude Duvalier and the overthrow of the military junta under Henry Namphy in 1989.
Robert
Good picture of Haitian history from the post Duvalier to Aristide period. Country then was in a mess just as it is today. Nothing changes.
Matt
weird...I got this book for Christmas and it was kind of random. But now with the earthquakes - it seems really relevant.
Valerie
I liked the style of writing and the topic covered. I wish she would have written some kind of follow-up post-1989.
Jake
If you haven't spent time in Haiti, you'll like this book; if you have, you'll love it ...
Sarah
Incredible book.
Samantha
Samantha marked it as to-read
Mar 27, 2015
Chris
Chris marked it as to-read
Mar 22, 2015
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Micaht marked it as to-read
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Amy Wilentz is the award-winning author of The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier; Martyrs’ Crossing, a novel about Jerusalem, and I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen: Coming to California in the Age of Schwarzenegger.

From 1995 through 1999, she was The New Yorker’s Jerusalem correspondent. She’s a contributing editor at The Nation magazine and teaches in the Literary Journalism progra
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More about Amy Wilentz...
Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti Martyrs' Crossing I Feel Earthquakes More Often than They Happen: Coming to California in the Age of Schwarzenegger In the Parish of the Poor: Writings from Haiti

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