Book: Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

Author: Laurent Dubois

Review by Phil Bolton
Publisher, President,Global Atlanta

To prepare for a reporting assignment in Haiti about the role of NGOs in August, I read Laurent Dubois' "Haiti: The Aftershocks of History".

Yes, I have Tracy Kidder's "Mountains Beyond Mountains" and Dr. Paul Farmer's "Haiti: After the Earthquake", but the best starting point for me was the Dubois book.

"Haiti is not for amateurs" is the quote from his book that sticks with me whenever I consider the important work that so many overseas organizations and well-intentioned people are devoting to the country.

It also prepared me for the fine line between hope and hopelessness on which the country seems to perpetually teeter.

Because of this book, I keep trying to discern whether Mother Nature or Mankind has been more brutal and wreaked more havoc on a place the size of Massachusetts where some 10 million people live.

Certainly any American with any intention of visiting or just learning about Haiti should read it. The book is well researched and beautifully written and provides a sweeping introduction from Haiti's successful slave revolt to the modern day.

The book also details the tragic roles that the U.S. has played in Haiti over the years. Even the best American intentions have often proved to be glaring failures.

For this reason alone, the book is worthwhile. Not only does it provide a splendid introduction to Haiti and awaken concern for the country's future, it delivers an education about how foreign interference can lead to unintended and painful consequences.

The author is a professor of romance studies and history at Duke University. It was copyrighted in 2012.