A Continent of Islands: Searching for the Caribbean Destiny

Overview

In this richly detailed portrait of the individual countries and peoples of the Caribbean, Mark Kurlansky brings to life a society and culture often kept hidden from foreigners?the arts, history, politics, and economics of the region, as well as the vivid day-to-day lives of its citizens. From the Newyoriccans of Levittown, Puerto Rico; to the state-salaried popular musicians of Cuba; to the practitioners of good political hurricanemanship (who know how to stretch statistics to bring in relief funds), A Continent...

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Overview

In this richly detailed portrait of the individual countries and peoples of the Caribbean, Mark Kurlansky brings to life a society and culture often kept hidden from foreigners—the arts, history, politics, and economics of the region, as well as the vivid day-to-day lives of its citizens. From the Newyoriccans of Levittown, Puerto Rico; to the state-salaried popular musicians of Cuba; to the practitioners of good political hurricanemanship (who know how to stretch statistics to bring in relief funds), A Continent of Islands paints portraits that will prove equally fascinating to tourists who know the Caribbean only as a string of beach resorts, and to readers curious about U.S. efforts to influence its neighbors.

"An engaging book by an excellent journalist. . . ."--Washington Post Book World. "A penetrating analysis of the social, political, sexual, and cultural worlds that exist behind the four-color Caribbean travel posters."--Kirkus Reviews. Photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Journalist Kurlansky has packed a lot of information in a relatively slim book. Readers who are familiar with one but not all of the Caribbean nations covered will find no errors in his facts and learn a great deal. He has designed his book's format to cover cultural topics, comparing and contrasting countries rather than plodding from country to country. He discusses various topics: AIDS; the 500th anniversary of Columbus's landing; the African roots of voodoo, arara, santeria, and shango; and the status of women. The bibliography is well planned with a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction titles. Highly recommended for all col P.L. System, Fla.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780201523966
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 1/28/1992
  • Pages: 320
  • Lexile: 1160L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Mark Kurlansky

Mark Kurlansky has reported on the Caribbean for the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times Magazine, and many other publications.

Biography

Blessed with extraordinary narrative skills, journalist and bestselling author Mark Kurlansky is one of a burgeoning breed of writers who has turned a variety of eclectic, offbeat topics into engaging nonfiction blockbusters.

Kurlansky worked throughout the 1970s and '80s as a foreign correspondent in Europe and Mexico. He spent seven years covering the Caribbean for the Chicago Tribune and transformed the experience into his first book. Published in 1992, A Continent of Islands was described by Kirkus Reviews as "[a] penetrating analysis of the social, political, sexual, and cultural worlds that exist behind the four-color Caribbean travel posters."

Since then, Kurlansky has produced a steady stream of bestselling nonfiction, much of it inspired by his longstanding interest in food and food history. (He has worked as a chef and a pastry maker and has written award-winning articles for several culinary magazines.) Among his most popular food-centric titles are the James Beard Award winner Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (1997), Salt: A World History (2002), and The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell (2006). All three were adapted into illustrated children's books.

In 2004, Kurlansky cast his net wider with 1968: The Year that Rocked the World, an ambitious, colorful narrative history that sought to link political and cultural revolutions around the world to a single watershed year. While the book itself received mixed reviews, Kurlanski's storytelling skill was universally praised. In 2006, he published the scholarly, provocative critique Nonviolence: Twenty-five Lessons From the History of a Dangerous Idea. It received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

Despite occasional forays into fiction (the 2000 short story collection The White Man in the Tree and the 2005 novel Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue), Kurlansky's bailiwick remains the sorts of freewheeling colorful, and compulsively readable micro-histories that 21st-century readers cannot get enough of.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, NY
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 7, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Hartford, CT
    1. Education:
      Butler University, B.A. in Theater, 1970

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