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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Was never a history fan till now...

I'm reading and immensely enjoying a book on Haiti's history. I'm only 45 pages in but it's fascinating. It's called: "Paradise Lost: Haiti's tumultuous journey from pearl of the Caribbean to third world hotspot." I realized that I'd never read a real history of the country (nothing more comprehensive than wikipedia or the CIA world factbook's country profile) and I'm glad I found this one. I think the real draw is how many holes in my first-hand knowledge are being filled with this factual overview. Here's an excerpt from the intro:

"However colorful their tales might be, Haiti's admirers and its detractors have only scratched the surface of it's history, leaving the general public unaware of some of Haiti's most unique features. For example, how many know that Haiti was once richer than the United States? That the first European settlement in the New World was built in Haiti? That Haiti was the first free black republic in the world, and the second colony in the Western Hemisphere to gain its independence? That the celebrated American ornithologist John James Audubon was born in Les Cayes, Haiti? That the French novelists Alexandre Dumas pere and fils descended from a Haitian general born of a white planter and his black slave? That one million Haitian Americans live in the United States today? That child slavery still exists in Haiti? That American troops landed in Port-au-Prince in 1915, 1994, and 2004?" (Girard, 4-5)

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