Malini Sridharan's Reviews > The Magic Island

The Magic Island by William B. Seabrook
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May 29, 2008

it was ok

The Magic Island supposedly introduced the zombie to the west, which is why I decided to read it.

The early zombie flicks definitely reflect the racial tension and American paternalism of Seabrook's travelogue. There is weird mix of disregard and respect for Haitians in his tone. The illustrations are horribly racist, so much so that I had to fold the pages because I felt really gross for looking at them. Seabrook supports the idea of overall white superiority and condescends to black Haitians. But he was also willing to hang out with black peasants, and he gives a decent amount of press to a discourse on race politics from a member of the black aristocracy.

It's difficult for me to say whether I liked the book or not because of Seabrook's attitude toward black Haitians. I felt uncomfortable while reading the book, but it really made me think about how racism is inherent in a lot of western art and culture. I had kind of the same feeling while reading this book as Elly described after watching Mad Men for the first time-- it was fascinating in part because everyone is so wrong in their thoughts and actions by today's standards.
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message 1: by EUGENE (new)

EUGENE J. HAITI & CUBA have long been shown US GOVERNMENT ANIMOSITY over the years and still are recipients of this. HAIT I has not recovered from the EARthquakes & Hurricanes as yet. Just look at the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC and SANTO DOMINGO to see the differences in HISPANOLA.


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