Island People by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro
The Caribbean and the World

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Caribbean studies scholars will no doubt find much to appreciate in this fine academic study–cum-travelogue. However, a general audience may be somewhat daunted by the very detail that is at the heart of this fine, if at times meandering, book.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A masterwork of travel literature and of history: voyaging from Cuba to Jamaica, Puerto Rico to Trinidad, Haiti to Barbados, and islands in between, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of each society, its culture and politics, connecting this region’s common heritage to its fierce grip on the world’s imagination.
 
From the moment Columbus gazed out from the Santa María's deck in 1492 at what he mistook for an island off Asia, the Caribbean has been subjected to the misunderstandings and fantasies of outsiders. Running roughshod over the place,  they have viewed these islands and their inhabitants as exotic allure to be consumed or conquered. The Caribbean stood at the center of the transatlantic slave trade for more than three hundred years, with societies shaped by mass migrations and forced labor.  But its people, scattered across a vast archipelago and separated by the languages of their colonizers, have nonetheless together helped make the modern world—its politics, religion, economics, music, and culture. Jelly-Schapiro gives a sweeping account of how these islands’ inhabitants have searched and fought for better lives. With wit and erudition, he chronicles this “place where globalization began,” and introduces us to its forty million people who continue to decisively shape our world.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

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Joshua Jelly-Schapiro is a geographer and writer whose work has appeared in The New York Review of Books, New York, Harper’s, the Believer, Artforum, and The Nation, among many other publications. Educated at Yale and Berkeley, he is the co-editor, with Rebecca Solnit, of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, and a visiting scholar at New York University’s Institute for Public Knowledge. This is his first book.
Author Residence: New York, NY
 
Published November 22, 2016 by Knopf. 464 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Island People
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Kirkus

Above average
on Sep 06 2016

Caribbean studies scholars will no doubt find much to appreciate in this fine academic study–cum-travelogue. However, a general audience may be somewhat daunted by the very detail that is at the heart of this fine, if at times meandering, book.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by TOM GJELTEN on Dec 01 2016

That “complex past” and “particular beauty” characterizes the Caribbean as a whole, and this book, years in the making, does the region splendid justice.

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