Amy Wilentz brings to life a turbulent and fascinating country, Haiti, through a series of personal journeys, interwoven with scenes from the country's extraordinary past. Opening with her arrival in 1986, days before the ousting of Haiti's President for Life, Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier, Wilentz captures a country electric with the ...
Amy Wilentz brings to life a turbulent and fascinating country, Haiti, through a series of personal journeys, interwoven with scenes from the country's extraordinary past. Opening with her arrival in 1986, days before the ousting of Haiti's President for Life, Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier, Wilentz captures a country electric with the expectation of change. She then shows how that hope turned to disappointment when liberation led not to reform, but to chaos and stagnation. In Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital, Wilentz leads us through the streets, bustling by day, and by night filled with gunfire and burning tyres. We explore a countryside where young soldiers control road-blocks and farmers struggle to survive, and where belief in voodoo is as strong as it ever was. Wilentz offers vivid portraits of today's Haitians - Father Aristide the rebel priest and spiritual force behind the opposition; the various military-backed leaders who have passed through Haiti's revolving door of power; the wild kids who roam the streets - and the foreigners in Haiti: the State Department men; the Christian missionaries; the international press corps who jet in for each coup. In the tradition of Joan Didion and Paul Theroux, The Rainy Season is modern reportage of great resonance and beauty.
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Publishers Weekly, 1989-05-12 In 1986, Jean-Claude ``Baby Doc'' Duvalier, Haiti's ``president-for-life,'' was forced to flee his country. A military junta had seized power, and the widespread feeling of unrest that had been brewing for years among the Haitian peasantry and the urban poor came to a boil, resulting in chaos: mass strikes, riots and other forms of violence. Wilentz's first book carefully, sensitively narrates these events in the first person, providing historical background when necessary, and telling the stories of Haitians from all walks of life, from the infamous ``Tontons Macoute''--a ruthless government-sponsored vigilante group--to voodoo priests (who speak at length of their magic), and including government officials, missionaries, intellectuals, workers and the unemployed. The former Time reporter's numerous visits to the island between 1986 and 1988 enrich her account with details of daily life, both in the dilapidated alleys and slums of Port-au-Prince and in remote villages tucked away in lush tropical mountains. Her vivid record of an important piece of contemporary world history captures the sad political and quotidian existence of an impoverished albeit physically beautiful country. (June)
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