A limited number of books about Haiti have stood the test of time and constitute essential reading. Our short list is drawn from a variety of disciplines and fields.
Courlander Harold. The Drum and the Hoe: Life and Lore of the Haitian People. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974. The definitive work on Haitian folklore, proverbs, songs, and tales.
Danner Mark. "Beyond the Mountains." Parts 1-30 The New Yorker ( 27 November 1989): pp. 55-100; ( 4 December 1989): pp. 69-141; ( 11 December 1989): pp. 100-131. The best account of the overthrow of Duvalier and the aftermath through the regime of General Avril.
Depestre René. Hadriana dans mes rêves. Paris: Gallimard, 1988. This prize-winning, erotic, comic novel is set in Jacmel in the 1930s. The author is Haiti's most significant contemporary writer.
Dunahm Katherine. Dances of Haiti. Los Angeles: Afro-American Studies Center, 1983. Choreographer, anthropologist, and founder of the Ballet of Haiti provides an attractive introduction to dances of Haiti.
Girault Christian A. Le commerce du café en Haïti: Habitants, spéculateurs et exportateurs. Paris: CNRS, 1981. A comprehensive, empirical study of the coffee trade in Haiti from producers to intermediaries to exporters.
Heinl Robert Debs Jr., and Heinl Nancy Gordon. Written in Blood: The Story of the Haitian People 1942-1971. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978. The most complete and thorough political history of Haiti from colonial to modern times.
Herskovitz Melville J. Life in a Haitian Valley. New York: Knopf, 1937. Important, pioneering anthropological fieldwork that identified persistent African heritage in Haiti.
James C. L. R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. 2d Edition. New York: Random House, 1963. Passionate, romantic account of the Haitian Revolution by a radical West Indian historian and essayist.