Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Most Caribbean politicians are articulate, some are even literate. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, present Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is not only scholarly but brave enough to have his opinions put on public display in a form that can be referred to for years to come.
Clothbound, 6x9in, 335pp, 2001
Another transcript of a critical trial, that of Lt. Col. George Etherington of the 60th or, Royal American" Regiment who surrendered St. Vincent to the French (and Caribs) in 1779. He was Court Martialed in St. Lucia in 1781 and aquitted, his defense being that he did his duty as a bureaucrat.
The book was produced by Dr. Todd Harburn, who becamr acquainted with Col. Etherington because of his surrender of a command in North America, and Roger Durham, a historian resident in Bequia.
Paperback 5.5x8in. 211pp, 2002
In 1935 the popular sentiment was clearly against colonialism and the man who provided a focus for that feeling in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was George Augustus McIntosh. The colonial authorities tried to control the situation by calling the expression of that sentiment "riots" and trying George McIntosh for treason. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, the current Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, has edited and commented on the transcript of that trial.
Paperback, 6.5x8.5in, published in 1985 and reprinted 1996.
A satyrical novel of Caribbean politics and foreign relations. It is a little dated, but not too badly so, and political details change quickly anyway. It does reflect general attitude, which is what makes it funny still.
It is a standard paperbalk (4x6.5 in, 283pp) and I found mine in an airport shop in Antigua. The author is in Barbados, so it may still be in print there.
If you are interested in the Caribbean (and, if not, why are you reading this?) try to get hold of a copy.
A fascinating sociological study of the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with a concentration on the people in Layou in the 1970s. We have been spending a good part of the year on St. Vincent for the last decade, and this book gave me a new insight into what has been going on around me. Unfortunalely it is out of prinst and copies are available used at 100USD or so. The copy I am reading (and whose cover I scanned) I borrowed from Dennis Gaymes, who has a bookstore near the center of town. (Across from the NCB near the courthouse)
This is a topographic map of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1984) that used to be available in the bookstores and some tourist shops, but is still available at the planning office on Murray's Rd just out of town. They also have a larger one, in two pieces, rolled up, but this version folds like a roadmap into 6x9in.
One might wonder why a book about a duel in Scotland would be in this collection, but that's because one of the protagonists, William Gurley (or Gourley) was the owner of Peter's Hope a sugar estate on the Leeward side of St. Vincent, just south of Barrouallie (pronounced Barrow-lee). There is, in fact, a settlement called Gurley's off the road just south of Peter's Hope.
The account of the duel is interesting, especially in light of the questions on its fairness and the absence of the other protagonist who declined to stay and be tried for murder.
You can see some pictures of Peter's Hope if you go to http://pictags.karleklund.net and click on PetersHope
Books & Magazines
There are now a reasonable number of sources of reading material about Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This mazazine, "The Ins & Outs of St. Vincent & The Grenadines" is an annual tourist magazine containing some articles along with information about hotels and restaurants. It is the quality of airline magazines, glossy pictures and literate prose (8x11inm 160pp, 2006 edition current) but, like all such sponsored publications, it never says anything negative. You might want to look at my site on the internet, http://svg.karleklund.net , for
some of the few warts. You should be able to get a copy, while they last, at any hotel or tourist service on St. Vincent; or by mail from the tourist office (http://svgtourism.com).
There are some other books that I have found of interest and I'll describe them in later blogs. But one in particular is of unique interest. Late in life Alexandre Moreau de Jonnes wrote a memoire which included his adventure as an 18 year old french spy in the Caribbean. I searched for some time and finally was able to buy a translation from 1971, only to find that they had edited out everythin that referred to the Caribbean. This may have satisfied the needs of students of post-revolutionary french history; but it made me very irritated.
Some years later (i.e., last year) I was able to find an expensive copy of the 1920 translation, and did the tedious job of scanning and editing the text. You can find is at http://1795.karleklund.net.
There is a Ph.D. thesis about the Second Carib war and I will try to get permission to put that on the web so it can be appreciated. The following blogs will relate to bound books and related items.