Island People: The Caribbean and the World
3.81/5 by 31 users

Island People: The Caribbean and the World


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.

Title:Island People: The Caribbean and the World
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:384 pages

    Island People: The Caribbean and the World Reviews

  • Book Riot Community
    Nov 22, 2016

    A comprehensive and intriguing look at the nations of the Caribbean, their shifting identities through the centuries, and their music, politics, religions, cutltures, and people. Jelly-Schapiro delves...

  • Suzette
    Jan 19, 2017

    There's so much interesting in this book as the author details his travels, and I was excited to read this recommendation from a bookstore. However, within the wonderful details are biases that irrita...

  • Ann Tonks
    May 11, 2017

    I rarely give 5 stars to books but this was a stand-out. Partly because I learnt so much about the history and culture of countries in the Caribbean from Jamaica to Dominica, Cuba to Haiti, large isla...

  • Andy White
    Mar 08, 2017

    This is an interesting and accessible history of some of the Caribbean islands. The author is at his best when he narrates his adventures on the islands. I did skip a couple of offshoots from his hist...

  • Anela
    Jan 18, 2017

    Excellent travelogue on Caribbean islands: Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, DR, Haiti, Cayman, Barbados, Antigua, Barbuda, Trinidad, Dominica, Grenada, Martinique, etc. Travel centers on music (Jamaican re...

  • Karen
    Dec 20, 2016

    Island People #4 (pg:464)By:Joshua Jelly-Schapiro Island People is my favorite book I’ve read it was so entertaining. I suggest everyone to read it if you like adventure and feeling like a part of t...

  • Susan Walker
    Nov 10, 2016

    This book travels to several islands, in the Caribbean, and gives the reader a look into the culture of each island. I especially liked finding out the history of each island....

  • Lucinda Mccloud
    Mar 28, 2017

    Amazing book describing the people of different islands in the Caribbean. Begun as a dissertation by Josh, it delves into the history, culture, geography, art, writing, music, and politics, augmented ...

  • Tim
    Apr 29, 2017

    A very informative book on the Caribbean islands and cultures of the current inhabitants.With a number of very small populations, the author ferrets out the leading cultural aspects - often music and ...

About Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro is a geographer and writer whose books include "Island People: The Caribbean and the World," and "Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas," which he co-edited with Rebecca Solnit. His essays on arts, history, culture, and politics have appeared in the New York Review of Books, New York, Harper's, The Nation, Artforum, The Believer, and on Educated at Yale and