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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 18, 2010 10:22AM) (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments Since the earthquake and listening to all of the news reports...I am not sure if some of you shared the same thoughts that I had to find out more about the history of this country.

This thread is a place to add books, references, urls, articles about the location, the people and the events of Haiti. This thread can also discuss current events in Haiti and the people trying to help the Haitian people. So it is a combination of history and current events.

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments Mountains Beyond Mountains  The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy KidderTracy KidderTracy Kidder

"One of the people leading the rescue effort in Haiti is Dr. Paul Farmer, whose Partners in Health is by all reports one of the few functioning medical services left in the country. Farmer has been a longtime champion of AIDS victims and other public-health problems in the country. Tracy Kidder’s profoundly moving and inspiring account, Mountains Beyond Mountains, of Farmer’s work in the country is necessary reading for anyone wanting to understand what the Haitians have already faced and what one brave man was doing there before the world was galvanized into action."

Source for the above: write-up from The Daily Beast

Check out the article by Michelle Goldberg..also on The Daily Beast:

Link to Amazon's write-up on Kidder's book:

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments There is a film called The Agronomist.

Here it is on Amazon:

Here is the Daily Beast's write-up:

"Oscar-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme has been fascinated by Haiti for years. His stunning documentary, The Agronomist, about civil-rights leader, journalist, and political activist Jean Dominique, who was assassinated in 2000, examines Haiti’s tortured efforts to find stability and democratic rule. Through his independent radio station, Dominique was one of the most outspoken critics of the autocratic regimes of “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc,” and in Demme’s film his life becomes a prism to view Haitian history over the last 40 years."

Director: Jonathan Demme

He has done some other work on Haiti when you look at his other film will know his work:

Source: The Daily Beast

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 18, 2010 10:39AM) (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments This is a book about Toussaint Louverture

"Think of a combination of George Washington, Robespierre, and Bolivar and you’ll get Toussaint Louverture, the leader of the only successful slave revolt in history that freed the Haitians from French and Spanish control. Little is known about his life, but novelist Madison Smartt Bell brilliant recreates the life and times of Louverture in his biography. Readers interested in Haitian history should also check out Smartt Bell’s superb trilogy about the revolution."

Source: TDB - check message 3

Toussaint Louverture  A Biography by Madison Smartt BellMadison Smartt Bell Madison Smartt Bell

The Black Jacobins  Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C. L. R. JamesC. L. R. James

Toussaint L'ouverture  The Fight for Haiti's Freedom by Walter Dean MyersWalter Dean Myers Walter Dean Myers

Here is a kid's book:

Open the Door to Liberty!  a Biography of Toussaint L'Ouverture by Anne F. RockwellAnne F. Rockwell

L'Ouverture's book:

The Haitian Revolution (Revolutions) by Toussaint L'ouvertureToussaint L'ouverture

message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments This is a National Book Critics Circles award selection recommended by The Daily Beast;

"Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat’s National Book Critics Circle Award-winning memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, is the mesmerizing story of Danticat’s and her family’s immigration from Haiti when she was a young girl and the tragic death of her uncle. It is a story as much as about coming to the U.S. as it is about remaining connected to her birth country and its remarkable culture."

Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge DanticatEdwidge Danticat Edwidge Danticat

Source for write-up: TDB - see message 3

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments From the Daily Beast - Gerald Posner recommends:

"Little Haiti in Miami might look like Port-au-Prince, but nothing captures the essence of the Rhode Island-size country than some great writers who spent years there gaining an affinity for the poverty-stricken strip of Caribbean sand. Graham Greene's 40-year-old classic novel, The Comedians, is about a world-weary hotelier in the darkest period of the Duvalier dictatorship. It’s a remarkably grim and moving look inside a country controlled by violence and corruption. Writer Herbert Gold first visited Haiti as a 22-year-old student in 1952. In his many subsequent trips over the years, he dined with Graham Greene, met Duvalier hooligans, had booze-soaked evenings with loose-lipped diplomats, ex-Nazis, and voodoo priests. The result is Gold’s Haiti: Best Nightmare on Earth. Gold's entertaining Haiti is that of the country’s elite. Greene’s moving novel on the other hand captures the despair closer to the grind most Haitians have endured for far too long."

Write-up source: TDB - see message 3

Books Recommended:

The Comedians by Graham GreeneGraham Greene Graham Greene

Haiti  Best Nightmare on Earth by Herbert GoldHerbert Gold

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 18, 2010 10:53AM) (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments The Daily Beast wrote:

Listen to Boukman Eksperyana

"One of the most important music bands in Haiti, their name is an echo of a revolutionary figure in the country’s history, and they played their own role in the democratic movement around Aristide in the early 1990s. Try their appropriately named album Revolution for an amazing mix of dance hall and political agitation."

Write-up source: TDB - message 3

Listen to Last fm radio free:

Boukman Eksperyans is a a mizik rasin band from the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The band derives its name from Dutty Boukman, a vodou priest who led a religious ceremony in 1791 that is widely considered the start of the Haitian Revolution. The other half of the band’s name, “Eksperyans”, is the Kréyòl word for “experience”, and was inspired by the band’s appreciation of the music of Jimi Hendrix.

Here is the link:

You can listen to last fm radio which plays Boukman Eksperyans and other like musicians and if you scroll down you can listen to other selections by this artist free. You can also create your own free playlists:

message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments Also:

The Rainy Season  Haiti Since Duvalier by Amy WilentzAmy Wilentz

Here is the write-up from The Daily Beast;

"Amy Wilentz’s splendid book, The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier, vibrantly captures the unique flavor of Haiti and its tangled history. The book is 20 years old, and it focuses on the tumultuous era after the fall of “Baby Doc” Duvalier, but I have no doubt that reading it today would be as revealing and rewarding as ever.

Source for the write-up above is TDB - see message 3

Here is the Amazon link:

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments Here is an interesting article:

"A Hidden Haitian World" by Madison Smartt Bell

Madison Smartt Bell Madison Smartt Bell

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 18, 2010 11:52AM) (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments Haiti's Dictator: Poor Man's Exile: by Eric Pape

Source: The Daily Beast

Another article - same author:

Baby Doc Speaks by Eric Pape


"What Haiti Needs" by Amy Wilentz

Amy Wilentz

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments HAITI DISASTER:

Articles from The Daily Beast:


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 18, 2010 12:51PM) (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments BILL CLINTON ARRIVES IN HAITI:


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments MSNBC - HISTORY OF HAITI:

message 14: by Kristen (last edited Jan 24, 2010 03:50AM) (new)

Kristen I Just finished up Toussaint Louverture (Vintage) by Madison Smartt Bell

Although I didn't much care for Bell's writing style, the story of Toussaint L'Ouverture is quite captivating!

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments Thank you for giving us that input. Glad to know.

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) I came across this book today and needless to say I've ordered a copy; "Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution" by Laurent Dubois.

Avengers of the New World  The Story of the Haitian Revolution by Laurent Dubois by Laurent Dubois
"A stern and brilliant new book...The Haitian Revolution, in all its ugliness and brutality, was the response of the oppressed, indentured and enslaved to their unjust condition. And it is this whirling and chaotic world that Dubois so vividly brings to life in Avengers of the New World and so accurately deconstructs...Dubois starts this book about war with chapters about love, death, books and graveyards. His discussions of interracial love affairs and the attitudes of slaves both toward death among slaves and toward death among masters are riveting and eloquent. Indeed, Dubois' literary sensibility informs the book from start to finish, so that at its beginning as well as its end, the reader feels as if the story must be fiction, yet it is not...Dubois calls Haiti a nation 'founded on ashes,' and he has written splendidly about the fires, both political and cultural, that lit up the land during the days of revolution and that are still, in a sense, burning today." - Amy Wilentz (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

"For those who wish to recall the dramatic events that led to the creation of the world's first black republic and the Western Hemisphere's second independent nation, I would strongly recommend Laurent Dubois's Avenger's of the New World...The story of Haitian independence is well known and has been told many times before, but Dubois's vigorous text brings the story to vibrant new life. The battles, personalities, and complex sociopolitical turmoil brought about in Haiti and elsewhere in the world, especially the slave-owning American South, are recalled with a depth and passion that makes this an invigorating work of historical writing." - Phil Hall (New York Resident)

message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments That actually sounds like the kind of book I was looking for when the earthquake happened. I guess I really wanted to know what had brought Haiti to such disaster. Of course, the earthquake is a natural disaster but how the government and the services were fairly non existent with few resources was another.

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Hi Bentley, It looked like a very good account and it has received some very good reviews, hence I could not restrain myself and ordered a copy!

message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24010 comments You make me smile.

message 20: by Bryan, Assisting Moderator - Presidential Series (last edited Oct 04, 2010 12:33PM) (new)

Bryan Craig | 10568 comments Thanks, A.R.

Many southerns in the U.S. were very concerned about this revolution as you can imagine. African-Americans taking up arms and then running a country??

message 21: by Bryan, Assisting Moderator - Presidential Series (last edited Aug 29, 2012 01:26PM) (new)

Bryan Craig | 10568 comments The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon

The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon  Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian War of Independence, 1801-1804 by Philippe R. GirardPhilippe R. Girard


To a contemporary audience, Haiti brings to mind Voodoo spells, Tontons Macoutes, and boat people--nothing worth fighting over. Two centuries ago, however, Haiti, then known as Saint-Domingue, was the “Pearl of the Antilles,” France's most valuable overseas colony, the largest exporter of tropical products in the world, and the United States' second most important trading partner after England.

Haiti was also the place where in 1801-1802 Napoléon Bonaparte sent the largest colonial venture of his reign: the Leclerc expedition. His goal was to remove the famous revolutionary Toussaint Louverture from office and, possibly, restore slavery. But within two years, the remnants of Bonaparte’s once-proud army were evacuated in defeated, and Haiti declared its independence. This forgotten yet momentous conflict, in which lives were consumed by the thousands, is this book’s main focus.

In this ambitious monograph, Philippe Girard employs the latest tools of the historian’s craft, multi-archival research in particular, and applies them to the climactic yet poorly understood last years of the Haitian Revolution. Haiti lost most of its archives to neglect and theft, but a substantial number of documents survive in French, U.S., British, and Spanish collections, both public and private. In all, The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon relies on contemporary military, commercial, and administrative sources drawn from nineteen archives and research libraries on both sides of the Atlantic.

Due to its extensive archival basis, the book corrects the many factual inaccuracies that have plagued previous accounts. It also offers a more rounded view of the Haitian Revolution, going beyond mere military minutia to include the activities of U.S. merchants; the in-fighting within the French government; the diplomacy between both the French and revolutionaries with the United States, England, and Spain; and the lives of the maroons, women, and children caught up in the revolutionary struggle. This multidimensional work tells not only of barefoot black soldiers ambushing Bonaparte’s columns, but also of Rochambeau’s mixed-race mistresses, French child drummers, Jewish bankers in Kingston, weapon smugglers from Quaker Philadelphia, Polish artillerists, and African-born maroons struggling to preserve their freedom against both white and black opponents.

Equally groundbreaking is the book’s willingness to move beyond tidy ideological and racial categories to depict an Atlantic society at the crossroads of African and European influences, where Haitian rebels fought France while embracing its ideals. In the process, the reader is introduced to the extraordinary lives of multifaceted characters such as Wladyslaw Jablonowski, the son of a Polish woman and a black father who died fighting for France and white supremacy.

message 22: by Moloch (last edited Aug 29, 2012 03:31PM) (new)

Moloch | 1 comments I'm sure someone has mentioned it before, but I highly recommend the Haiti Trilogy by Madison Smartt Bell: it's historical fiction, really great

All Souls' Rising by Madison Smartt Bell
Master of the Crossroads by Madison Smartt Bell
The Stone That the Builder Refused by Madison Smartt Bell

ETA: by Madison Smartt Bell

message 23: by Bryan, Assisting Moderator - Presidential Series (new)

Bryan Craig | 10568 comments Awesome, Moloch, don't forget to add an author:

All Souls' Rising by Madison Smartt Bell Master of the Crossroads by Madison Smartt Bell The Stone That the Builder Refused by Madison Smartt Bell Madison Smartt BellMadison Smartt Bell

Alisa (MsTaz) | 5301 comments Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

Haiti  The Aftershocks of History by Laurent Dubois by Laurent Dubois (no photo)


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.

Alisa (MsTaz) | 5301 comments Haiti: The Tumultuous History - From Pearl of the Caribbean to Broken Nation

Haiti  The Tumultuous History - From Pearl of the Caribbean to Broken Nation by Philippe Girard by Philippe Girard (no photo)


Why has Haiti been plagued by so many woes? Why have multiple U.S. efforts to create a stable democracy in Haiti failed so spectacularly? Philippe Girard answers these and other questions, examining how colonialism and slavery have left a legacy of racial tension, both within Haiti and internationally; Haitians remain deeply suspicious of white foriegners' motives, many of whom doubt Hatians' ability to govern themselves. He also examines how Haiti's current political instability is merely a continuation of political strife that began during the War of Independence (1791-1804). Finally, Girard explores poverty's devastating impact on contemporary Haiti and argues that Haitians--particularly home-grown dictators--bear a big share of the responsibility for their nation's troubles.

message 26: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Global NF, HF, European/Brit. Hist/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 7042 comments One of the most evil dictators in history, we often forget the terror he brought upon the people of Haiti.

Papa Doc: Portrait of a Haitian Tyrant

Papa Doc  Portrait of a Haitian Tyrant by John Marquis by John Marquis (no photo)


Dr. Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier, former self-appointed President-for-life of Haiti, was the most brutal tyrant of his time. His pervasive secret police, the Tontons Macoute, were literally connoisseurs of terror. For more than three decades, they struck terror into the impoverished people of Haiti, in the most macabre way. In this outstanding account of Duvalier's life, the full horror of the Haitian nightmare is laid bare. Disappearances of entire families in the night, public execution of political foes, summary killings of the peasantry and a succession of failed assassinations on Duvalier's life, provide the theme of a demon-possessed president. 'Papa Doc' was the embodiment of evil in the most sinister form. There was voodoo and his own involvement in strange rites, his apparent supernatural powers and reputed immortality. Using voodoo to suppress an entire nation of 7 million souls, 'Papa Doc' became the political ogre of the age, a trained country doctor transmuted by power into a sinister killer his people considered indestructible. He exuded this evil image even in his appearance. He dressed always in dark apparel, from top to toe; he appeared funereal promoting death rather than life. His propensity for Machiavellian intrigue and ruthlessness was limitless. Using a spy trial in Port-au-Prince in 1968 as the foundation of this electrifying tale, the bewitching and terrifying reality of Duvalier's Haiti, the author reveals a spellbinding account of the macabre regime in one of the world's most haunted lands

Peter Flom | 765 comments Jill wrote: "One of the most evil dictators in history, we often forget the terror he brought upon the people of Haiti.

Papa Doc: Portrait of a Haitian Tyrant

[bookcover:Papa Doc: Portrait of a Haitian Tyrant..."

Haiti has one of the saddest histories of any country, I think.

message 28: by Bryan, Assisting Moderator - Presidential Series (new)

Bryan Craig | 10568 comments I know, Peter, it is horrible. The corruption is huge and then you throw in all the soil erosion and deforestation (floods and mudslides) due to no management, and it just gets worse.

message 29: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Global NF, HF, European/Brit. Hist/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 7042 comments Then along came "Baby Doc". The Duvalaliers had a hold on Haiti long enough to reduce it to what it is today.

message 30: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Global NF, HF, European/Brit. Hist/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 7042 comments Haiti conjures up voodoo and this book gives a participant's bird's eye view inside this sometimes horrifying cult.

Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica

Tell My Horse  Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica by Zora Neale Hurston by Zora Neale HurstonZora Neale Hurston


As a first-hand account of the weird mysteries and horrors of voodoo, "Tell My Horse" is an invaluable resource and fascinating guide. Based on Zora Neale Hurston's personal experiences in Haiti and Jamaica, where she participated as an initiate rather than just an observer of voodoo practices during her visits in the 1930s, this travelogue into a dark world paints a vividly authentic picture of ceremonies and customs and superstitions of great cultural interest.

message 31: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator (T) - Military History (new)

Jerome | 2063 comments Toussaint's Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution

Toussaint's Clause  The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution by Gordon S. Brown by Gordon S. Brown (no photo)


In its formative years, America, birthplace of a revolution, wrestled with a volatile dilemma. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and many other founding fathers clashed. What was to be the new republic's strategy toward a revolution roiling just off its shores?

From 1790 to 1810, the disagreement reverberated far beyond Caribbean waters and American coastal ports. War between France and Britain, the great powers of the time, raged on the seas and in Europe. America watched aghast as its trading partner Haiti, a rich hothouse of sugar plantations and French colonial profit, exploded in a rebellion led by former slave Toussaint L'Ouverture.

Toussaint's Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution narrates the intricate history of one of America's early foreign policy balancing acts and one of the nation's defining moments. The supporters of Toussaint's rebellion against France at first engineered a bold policy of intervention in favor of the rebels. But Southern slaveholders, such as Jefferson, eyed the slave-general's rise and masterful leadership skills with extreme alarm and eventually obtained a reversal of the policy-even while taking advantage of the rebellion to make the fateful Louisiana purchase.

Far from petty, the internal squabbles among America's founders resolved themselves in delicate maneuvers in foreign capitals and on the island. The stakes were mortally high-a misstep could have plunged the new, weak, and neutral republic into the great powers' global war. In Toussaint's Clause, former diplomat and ambassador Gordon S. Brown details the founding fathers' crisis over Haiti and their rancorous struggle, which very often cut to the core of what America meant by revolution and liberty.

message 32: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator (T) - Military History (new)

Jerome | 2063 comments You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery

You Are All Free  The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery by Jeremy D. Popkin by Jeremy D. Popkin (no photo)


The abolitions of slavery in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue in 1793 and in revolutionary France in 1794 were the first dramatic blows against an institution that had shaped the Atlantic world for three centuries and affected the lives of millions of people. Based on extensive archival research, You Are All Free provides the first complete account of the dramatic events that led to these epochal decrees, and also to the destruction of Cap Francais, the richest city in the French Caribbean, and to the first refugee crisis in the United States. Taking issue with earlier accounts that claim that Saint-Domingue's slaves freed themselves, or that French revolutionaries abolished slavery as part of a general campaign for universal human rights, the book shows that abolition was the result of complex and often paradoxical political struggles on both sides of the Atlantic that have frequently been misunderstood by earlier scholars.

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