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216 × 138 × 12 mm
160 pages
01 Feb 2007
Contemporary Worlds
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The Contemporary Caribbean Olwyn M. Blouet

When tourists seek an escape from the worries and dilemmas of everyday life, the crystal blue waters and white sands of the Caribbean islands seem like the answer to a prayer. Yet this idyllic image hides a tumultuous history marked by strife and division over race, political power and economic inequality. Olwyn M. Blouet explores the colourful history of ‘the Caribbean’ over the last 50 years, revealing it to be a region positioned at the heart of some the most prominent geopolitical issues of modern times.

Navigating a rich mélange of cultures and histories, Blouet unearths a complex narrative that is frequently overlooked in histories of the Americas. In stark contrast to widely-read guidebooks, this chronicle unflinchingly probes two strikingly different worlds in the Caribbean islands – those of the haves and the have-nots – created by the volatile mixture of colonial politics, racial segregation and economic upheaval. The strategic political relations between Caribbean nations, Cuba in particular, and the world powers during the Cold War; the economic transformations instigated by tourism; and the modernizing efforts of Caribbean nations in order to meet the demands of a globalizing twenty-first-century market are among the numerous issues explored by Blouet in her efforts to redress the historical record’s imbalance. The Contemporary Caribbean also explores the nations’ proud histories in sports such as cricket and baseball, their famed cuisines, and the uneasy balance today between local traditions and the vestiges of colonial influence.

An informative and thought-provoking account, The Contemporary Caribbean is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this flamboyant and diverse, yet troubled part of the world.

‘This work is a refreshing attempt to provide a comprehensive survey of a region fraught with cultural, linguistic and political barriers . . . As each chapter considers different islands in turn, a wealth of information is amassed, building an overall perspective which focuses on correlations or disparities between islands rather than producing a portrait of individual areas. History, former colonial ties and differing political situations in the islands of the Greater and Lesser Antilles today are discussed in rich detail, incorporating a range of well-chosen statistics. It will prove a very useful resource for students or academics working on any aspect of the Caribbean.’ — Forum for Modern Language Studies

‘Olwyn Blouet has written an invaluable book which is firmly rooted in an acute historical awareness and which makes sense of complex contemporary issues. It is a book which combines both historical sweep and a willingness to engage with modern-day issues. It will be an invaluable guide and reference for any student of the Caribbean.’ — James Walvin, Professor Emeritus, University of York

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Olwyn M. Blouet is Professor of History at Virginia State University. She is also the co-author of Latin America and the Caribbean: A Systematic and Regional Survey (4th edition, 2005).

Introducing the Contemporary Caribbean
1. Geographical Setting and Environment
2. History through World War II
3. Caribbean Relations with the United States and the World since World War II
4. Politics since World War II
5. Economies
6. People and Society
7. Culture
8. Problems and Prospects in the Twenty-first Century
Selected Further Reading