Will Read for Food

Books are my Kryptonite and my salvation...

Bookish Things

My Top 5: West Indian Novels that shaped me (Non-Fiction)

Posted by Dee ^_^ on February 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Hello, hello!!!!

For anyone who wants to know my current mood as I type this post:

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Because, sometimes all you need is a dip in the ocean to feel a little better.

Now for the real reason that  we're here*:

*I'm a big history nerd so most of these are history books...oops? Also, say yes to Gender Studies. Thanks.

From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean, 1492-1969 by Dr. Eric Williams

From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean is about 30 million people scattered across an arc of islands -- Jamaica, Haiti, Barbados, Antigua, Martinique, Trinidad, among others-separated by the languages and cultures of their colonizers, but joined together, nevertheless, by a common heritage. For whether French, English, Dutch, Spanish, Danish, or-latterly-American, the nationality of their masters has made only a notional difference to the peoples of the Caribbean. The history of the Caribbean is dominated by the history of sugar, which is inseparable from the history of slavery; which was inseparable, until recently, from the systematic degradation of labor in the region. Here, for the first time, is a definitive work about a profoundly important but neglected and misrepresented area of the world.

Capitalism & Slavery by Dr. Eric Williams


Slavery helped finance the Industrial Revolution in England. Plantation owners, shipbuilders, and merchants connected with the slave trade accumulated vast fortunes that established banks and heavy industry in Europe and expanded the reach of capitalism worldwide. Eric Williams advanced these powerful ideas in Capitalism and Slavery, published in 1944. Years ahead of its time, his profound critique became the foundation for studies of imperialism and economic development. Binding an economic view of history with strong moral argument, Williams's study of the role of slavery in financing the Industrial Revolution refuted traditional ideas of economic and moral progress and firmly established the centrality of the African slave trade in European economic development. He also showed that mature industrial capitalism in turn helped destroy the slave system. Establishing the exploitation of commercial capitalism and its link to racial attitudes, Williams employed a historicist vision that set the tone for future studies.

A History of Modern Trinidad, 1783-1962 by Prof. Bridget Brereton - This book taught me things about my country that I found very interesting. It also covered that period in time when we moved from Trinidad to Trinidad and Tobago. 

*no synopsis available*

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

A classic and impassioned account of the first revolution in the Third World.


This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for the Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba. It is the story of the French colony of San Domingo, a place where the brutality of master toward slave was commonplace and ingeniously refined. And it is the story of a barely literate slave named Toussaint L'Ouverture, who led the black people of San Domingo in a successful struggle against successive invasions by overwhelming French, Spanish, and English forces and in the process helped form the first independent nation in the Caribbean.

Confronting Power, Theorizing Gender: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in the Caribbean by Prof. Eudine Barriteau

Confronting Power, Theorizing Gender is an anthology of Caribbean feminist scholarship which has several unique features. It exposes gender relations as regimes of power and consolidates and advances indigenous feminist theorizing. A particularly strong section of the collection deconstructs marginality and masculinity in the Caribbean. The major breakthrough is the recognition that this area of research includes both men and women as integral to a more adequate conceptualization of society, polity and economy. The temper of the times suggests that a significant watershed in gender studies has been reached.

On my radar: 

Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred by M. Jacqui Alexander

M. Jacqui Alexander is one of the most important theorists of transnational feminism working today. Pedagogies of Crossing brings together essays she has written over the past decade, uniting her incisive critiques, which have had such a profound impact on feminist, queer, and critical race theories, with some of her more recent work. In this landmark interdisciplinary volume, Alexander points to a number of critical imperatives made all the more urgent by contemporary manifestations of neoimperialism and neocolonialism. Among these are the need for North American feminism and queer studies to take up transnational frameworks that foreground questions of colonialism, political economy, and racial formation; for a thorough re-conceptualization of modernity to account for the heteronormative regulatory practices of modern state formations; and for feminists to wrestle with the spiritual dimensions of experience and the meaning of sacred subjectivity.In these meditations, Alexander deftly unites large, often contradictory, historical processes across time and space. She focuses on the criminalization of queer communities in both the United States and the Caribbean in ways that prompt us to rethink how modernity invents its own traditions; she juxtaposes the political organizing and consciousness of women workers in global factories in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada with the pressing need for those in the academic factory to teach for social justice; she reflects on the limits and failures of liberal pluralism; and she presents original and compelling arguments that show how and why transgenerational memory is an indispensable spiritual practice within differently constituted women-of-color communities as it operates as a powerful antidote to oppression. In this multifaceted, visionary book, Alexander maps the terrain of alternative histories and offers new forms of knowledge with which to mold alternative futures.

Writing Rage: Unmasking Violence in Caribbean Discourse by Paula Morgan and Valerie Youssef. 

Human interaction has always been marked by the complex, pervasive dynamic of rage and violence. This dynamic and the ubiquitous social problems that are its consequence have long engaged scholars. In Writing Rage: Unmasking Violence through Caribbean Discourse, Paula Morgan and Valerie Youssef apply strategies of linguistic and literary analysis to a range of real-life and fictional discourses on the theme of violence. Their work explores the multifaceted spectrum of violence and its intricate web of cause-and-effect sequences at the macro and micro levels in Caribbean societies. This book will inform the first interdisciplinary course in this area to be taught at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, and it will also be essential reading for students and teachers of Caribbean cultural studies elsewhere in the region and throughout the diaspora.

I don't know how to qualify these choices...? So, enjoy?

Categories: Top 5, Book Recommendation

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