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The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica #2020

The Dead Yard Tales of Modern Jamaica Jamaica used to be the source of much of Britain s wealth an island where slaves grew sugar and the money flowed in vast quantities It was a tropical paradise for the planters a Babylonian exile for

  • Title: The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica
  • Author: Ian Thomson
  • ISBN: 9780571227617
  • Page: 143
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica By Ian Thomson, Jamaica used to be the source of much of Britain s wealth, an island where slaves grew sugar and the money flowed in vast quantities It was a tropical paradise for the planters, a Babylonian exile for the Africans shipped to the Caribbean It became independent in 1962.Jamaica is now a country in despair It has become a cockpit of gang warfare, drug crime and poverty HaJamaica used to be the source of much of Britain s wealth, an island where slaves grew sugar and the money flowed in vast quantities It was a tropical paradise for the planters, a Babylonian exile for the Africans shipped to the Caribbean It became independent in 1962.Jamaica is now a country in despair It has become a cockpit of gang warfare, drug crime and poverty Haunted by the legacy of imperialism, its social and racial divisions seem entrenched Its extraordinary musical tradition and physical beauty are shadowed by casual murder, police brutality and political corruption.Ian Thomson shows a side of Jamaica that tourists rarely see in their gated enclaves He travelled country roads in buses and met ordinary Jamaicans in their homes and workplaces and his encounters with the white elite, who still own most of Jamaica s businesses and newspapers, are unforgettable Thomson brings alive the country s unique racial and ethnic mix the all pervading influence of the USA and the increasing disillusionment felt by its people, who can t rely on the state for their most basic security At the heart of the book is Jamaica s tense, uneasy relationship with Britain, to whom it remains politically and culturally bound

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      Published :2020-04-05T10:38:50+00:00

    1 thought on “The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica

    1. The first few chapters were strong, but then the rest of the 300pages just seemed to go round in circles as the Jamaicans interviewed gave an infinite variety of opinions as to whether Jamaica was better off after gaining independence from Britain, or actually worse How much had it retained a class and ethnic divide reflecting old colonial attitudes, and how much had it come under the influence of the American Dream and consumption patterns The author fails to give much than his impressions, wh [...]

    2. Review from an ex professor that I couldn t agree with any There is so much about it that is xenophobic and irresponsible I threw it across the room when I finished it If it wasn t for my deep reverence of books I d throw it in the bbq and burn it When old people who left Jamaica for England in the 1940s became experts on contemporary Jamaica, I don t know What I ve decided to call documentary tourism is not even the least of this books problems All in all, the Jamaica that Thomson writes about [...]

    3. Thomson s episodic account of post independence Jamaica is a harrowing, heartbreaking read Though he attempts to bridge the gap between hagiographic travelogues of the island as a paradise and the sordid tales of violent city life to paint a realistic picture of Jamaica in the 21st century, those interviewed and observed seem lost caught between the abandonment of the British crown and a bleak future of continuing poverty, exploitation and corruption Peppered throughout with panoramic shots and [...]

    4. Engrossing tale of a beguiling but corrupted paradise Mr Thomson manages to talk to a considerable cross section of society as he tries to explain how things have gone greatly wrong in rich land with lots of potential after its independence and the unfortunate consequence of proximity to a giant neighbour with plenty of flaws plays quite a big part.

    5. As a Jamaican, I was skeptical of this book because of its title After reading the praises from other authors, acknowledgement and introduction, I threw it down in anger I would love to speak to him face to face on why I got angry but my curiosity got the better of me and returned to it and could not put it down until my curiosity was satiated I still have eight chapters to go I love the time Ian spent on interviewing all the different people from England and the Island of Jamaica, thanks to hi [...]

    6. I think only one person that Thomson interviewed had a good word to say about the country This could be because there really is nothing good to say However, it could also be because the author only seemed to interview people over the age of fifty who may have been nostalgic for the past Many hadn t even lived in Jamaica for years Also it went round in circles a bit, making the same points I would have liked to hear from young people too.One very good thing about the book was Thomson s writing st [...]

    7. To say that this book makes me want to read a general history of Jamaica is in no way a criticism Thomson s account of his wanderings in the Caribbean island, and his encounters with locals from many different ethnic groups and backgrounds, paint an eloquent portrait of a troubled country A long history of slavery and economic oppression, violence and political wrangling not to mention a rich artistic and musical culture, and noted thinkers and innovators has given Jamaica an outsized impact in [...]

    8. I read this whilst in Jamaica and it made me feel incredibly present My knowledge of the country was passable but this enriched my trip and experience by filling in the gaps whilst adding cultural and historical highs but mostly lows This is a sad book because Jamaica s story is sad Ian doesn t pity or mock, in fact his diary like telling comes across as sincere and I think he genuinely loves the island as do I.

    9. The Dead Yard ain t no usual travel book, oh no, but I love it Part social commentary, travelogue and historical account of the Jamaica that exists behind the sand, sun and sex that most tourists only ever experience, this is an impressively comprehensive and accessible narrative of a country still struggling to break free of the slavery shackles binding Jamaicans today via its class and racial divides.Over the course of three visits to Jamaica from 2005 to 2008, Thomson meets an amazingly diver [...]

    10. I really did struggle with this book It just did not flow for me and was a bit dull There are some really interesting bits of history concerning Jamaicans in the RAF during the Second World War or those that went out to work on the Panama Canal in the 1860 s and of course there is the slavery There is immigration into the island by the Chinese and Indian labourers which was insightful.The author goes all over the island speaking with different types of people including Perry Henzell who had dire [...]

    11. Depressing I have a than passing familiarity with Jamaica, having been there three times, first as a tourist and twice since as a nurse working in a mission clinic The author captures the beauty of the Jamaican people and their tropical paradise He also captures the political and social chaos that has ensued since independence in 1962 One wonders if Jamaica will ever prosper This is an accurate portrait of a failed state that nonetheless captivates visitors who are left asking, if only

    12. Generally enjoyed this, although i think the Tales of Modern Jamaica subtitle would have been a little effective if the author had bothered to include any voices under the age of 75.

    13. Interesting perspectives At times pedantic Overall well written and interesting Possibly less so if you don t already have a relationship with Jamaica.

    14. I found this book informative and entertaining But as many have pointed out, Thomson is a little reliant on interviews with older people, expatriate people, and uptown people There really isn t any meaningful attempt to understand Jamaica s youth and their culture Not that the older people and the ruling class aren t interesting the part where Thomson visited an old buckra plantation owner describing his squalidly grand dwelling in fabulous detail was a highlight of the book The problem with thi [...]

    15. At the Calabash 2012 International Literary Festival held annually in Treasure Beach, Jamaica this book was described as controversial, and when Ian Thomson took the podium he apologized to the mostly Jamaican audience for any harm he may have caused by what he d written In my opinion, this book s shortcoming is that it is driven by the very Euro centric and paternalistic question What has Jamaica done with its independence from Britain p21 Thomson calls Jamaica a baneful place p7 and a failed n [...]

    16. A comprehensive overview of Jamaica in 2008 9 Very well written, and divided into chapters whose titles are those of reggae songs The overall tone of the book is deeply pessimistic On the author s view, Jamaica while a beautiful, vibrant country is fatally undermined by cronyism in politics and violence on the streets The author doesn t see much hope for it His final plea take down the Union Jack seems of a necessary beginning point rather than any meaningful programme of long term action It s [...]

    17. To be blunt, I wasn t a huge fan of the author, but the sheer amount of history and culture that he researched for this book forces me to give this travelogue five stars I read this book before moving to Jamaica, and it was so much better re reading after I have been here for a half a year because I could visualize most of the places that he had visited Thomson has a skill of painting a good portrait of what he sees in front of him and attempting to connect the dots of the present based on the h [...]

    18. I read this book in preparation for reading A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James It turned out to be a good choice with its inclusion of details about the ska and rocksteady music of the late 1950s 1960s The book also refreshed my memory about 20th century Jamaican politicians Lastly, but not least, this book contained plenty of Jamaican slang usage I was able to figure out what most of it meant, which I am not finding to be the case in James book I did wish that thus book had inclu [...]

    19. This book is than a little scattershot I really enjoyed it on the whole, but I must blush to admit that I knew little about Jamaica starting out, so a book which focused on a variety of topics, however lightly, wasn t unwelcome A couple of chapters will deal with drugs and crime, a couple will deal with politics and colonialism, a couple will deal with music and ska You get the point If you re looking for a focused study on any point of Jamaican life and its people, this book will definitely le [...]

    20. I assigned this book as part of the course I taught in conjunction with the trip I led to Jamaica The book is the story of modern day Jamaica It chronicles the violence, poverty, drugs and lack of education It details the political corruption that results from the country s new ish independence 1962 , its dependence on foreign aid and loans, and huge amounts of American political and economic pressure The book also deftly describes the island s history with slavery and the resulting race and col [...]

    21. Ian Thomson s engaging anthropological study of modern Jamaica stirs up a truck load of psychic dissonance as it excavates Jamaicans uneasy attitudes toward race, class and pervasive violence It chronicles the violence, poverty, drugs and lack of education It details the political corruption that results from the country s new ish independence 1962 , its dependence on foreign aid and loans, and huge amounts of American political and economic pressure I gave the book 3 stars simply because it is [...]

    22. Ian Thomson is a very thoughtful, humane and well informed writer The dead yard is well researched and backed up by numerous trips to Jamaica This is not by itself, a travel book It goes into history, past and very recent It is at times, a less than pleasant read, but, reality is like that This is an honest book that you should read before you take a trip to Jamaica You need information like this It could save your life Overall, in the travel history politics section your chice one of the best b [...]

    23. I found this book almost disrespectful at certain points It was very obvious that Thomson already had a point of view before experiencing certain parts of Jamaica I am not disagreeing with everything that is said, but there is a much better way to articulate without being so offensive I also felt that his interviews were very selective, and he targeted people who would share his point of view I read about 75% of the book, and did not enjoy it very much at all.

    24. An fun and insightful read on post colonial Jamaica, The Dead Yard is definitely a must read for anyone looking to get a real sense of what the island is like today Though, or perhaps because, it s written from the perspective of an outsider it gives a sense of the varied experiences of Jamaica s multiple ethnic and social classes Thomson also doesn t shy away from the possible causes of Jamaica s problems whether they re endemic or the result of the island s colonial history.

    25. An unflinchingly honest look at modern day Jamaica, product of a history of slavery, an inescapable fact of life Thompson asks the question, What has Jamaica done with its independence The answer is discomforting Jamaicans will not find this an easy read and I have no doubt that it will upset many It is not a tourist brochure and Ian Thompson deserves much praise for his brave and beautiful prose.

    26. Excellent, well researched reportage, if a bit overlong I was tempted to argue with the author s ultimately depressing portrait of modern Jamaica but he works very hard to keep his own projections out of the narrative, instead relying on the voices of native Jamaicans to back up his impressive research

    27. I finished it This was a tough read, with pictures of a beautiful, ravaged country Hateful and hating , he called it at the end of one chapter, in a tone that reminds one of Jean Rhys s portrait of Paradise Ruined in Wide Sargasso Sea Even so, I m glad I finished it The meetings with a wide variety of Jamaicans stands as valuable accounting of voices that would otherwise have been lost.

    28. After a trip to Jamaica that meant we spent a lot of time on a resort, I wanted to know a bit about the real Jamaica Reading another review, I agree it is a bit Euro centric in it s perspective but it asked a lot of the same questions I did after visiting the country I can see why he approached it in this way Very readable and interesting.

    29. Excellent observationsVery good inight into what affects Jamaica today and shat dfives ouf society All comes back to the way we have organised our politics which was my conclusion in my own book on the Jamaican economy Charting Jamaica s Economic and Social Development

    30. An important and readable work on modern Jamaican history I had quibbles with a few of his narrative tactics, but on the whole felt I got a great although highly negative account of major cultural players in Jamaica over the past several decades.

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