Caribbean Dispatches: Beyond the Tourist Dream by Jane Bryce

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Caribbean Dispatches takes a highly original approach to one of the world’s most diverse cultures, covering a wide cross-section from Guyana to Trinidad & Tobago in the south to the Bahamas in the north. It offers an entertaining and idiosyncratic collection of personal perspectives on the Caribbean, by 28 writers of different backgrounds, for readers who want to get beneath the exotic surface of the tourist experience. It’s not a guide book, but for the curious it’s full of inside information, with the emphasis on variety, the unexpected and the intimate. It is the ideal companion for anyone fascinated by the Caribbean who wants to find out more, while for those who know the area already, it illuminates hidden corners and takes you further than you’ve ever gone before.

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The Dead Yard: Tales Of Modern Jamaica by Ian Thomson

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Jamaica used to be the source of much of Britain’s wealth, a tropical paradise for the planters, a Babylonian exile for the Africans shipped to the Caribbean. It became independent in 1962. Jamaica is now a country in despair. It has become a cockpit of gang warfare, drug crime and poverty. Haunted by the legacy of imperialism, its social and racial divisions seem entrenched. Its extraordinary musical tradition and physical beauty are shadowed by casual murder, police brutality and political corruption. Ian Thomson shows a side of Jamaica that tourists rarely see.He met ordinary Jamaicans in their homes and workplaces; and his encounters with the white elite, who still own most of Jamaica’s businesses and newspapers, are unforgettable. Thomson brings alive the country’s unique racial and ethnic mix; the all-pervading influence of the USA; and the increasing disillusionment felt by its people, who can’t rely on the state for their most basic security. At the heart of the book is Jamaica’s tense, uneasy relationship with Britain, to whom it remains politically and culturally bound.
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