Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

Laurent Dubois

Henry Holt & Company, 2012

Maligned and misunderstood, Haiti has long been blamed by many for its own poverty. But as Dr. 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.