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Notes From the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti Paperback – October 4, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 478 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583226974
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583226971
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A compelling mix of reportage, memoir, social criticism...Deibert has a sharp eye for the complicating ironies of history. -- The San Antonio Express-News, February 19, 2006

A compelling mix of reportage, memoir, social criticism...Deibert masterfully recounts...wild swings in the republic's political compass. -- The San Antonio Express-News, February 19, 2006

A powerfully documented exposé. -- The Miami Herald, November 25, 2005

From the Back Cover

Applying his formidable journalistic talents, Michael Deibert blends rare sensibility, vast knowledge, and analytical acuity to produce a remarkably compelling account of Haiti's political travails. The book is absorbing, perceptive, and refreshingly fair-minded and honest. Deibert writes of the Western Hemisphere's most tragic nation with deep affection and an admirable concern for bringing responsible leadership and basic decency to a society that has seldom seen either. For policy officials, advocates and scholars wrestling with the challenge posed by Haiti, this splendid book should be required reading.  

-Michael Shifter, President of the Inter-American Dialogue


Notes From The Last Testament is that rarest of combinations: brilliant reporting leavened with consistent compassion. Deibert is a journalist with a well-seasoned Caribbean soul and is a superb storyteller: he knows that the best way to reveal Haiti's bitter past and still-hopeful present is through the voices of its people, and he gives them to us on every page.

-Laurie Gunst, Author of Born Fi' Dead: A Journey Through The Jamaican Posse Underworld


From the slums of Port-au-Prince to Haiti's desperately poor countryside, Michael Deibert chronicles the impunity and corruption that destroyed the hope once embodied in President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Notes from the Last Testament speaks difficult truths on behalf of the many courageous Haitians who have paid a terrible price for standing up to brutality and fear.

-Michele Wucker, author of Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

If I only knew then what Michael Deibert has now so clearly laid out in his book.
Richard Boncy
Notes from the Last Testament is an essential book for anyone seeking to understand Haiti in general and its upheavals of the last ten years in particular.
B. Fountain III
On 9 June, I was really surprised and amazed to receive a letter from the central and general services administrative director.
Max Charles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sutton S. on December 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Reading some other readers' reviews of Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti, I am reminded of nothing so much as the organized "denunciations" that authoritarian movements so often mount against "incorrect thoughts," "insults to the revolution," and so on. The careful student of history easily recongnizes these slanders for what they are: the scrabbling attempt of second-rate thinkers to prop up flimsy belief systems that barely support their own weight, much less withstand competition. But then, the careful student of history does not generally get involved with such movements; those who do are not thinkers but seekers, believers, looking only for evidence that will support their neatly organized world view and cherrypicking flaws -- ideological and otherwise -- in anything that contradicts it.

I finished this book this fall and find that, yes, it is not perfect. (Shall we page through the Amazon site and see how many books for sale here are?) But while it may be possible to prove Michael wrong on a detail here and there (I cannot say, being no expert on Haiti, and so I must take other reviewers' word for it), I cannot understand the stance taken by some on this page that this book is not worth reading. How could it not be? If you are curious about Haiti, how in good conscience can you pass up the opportunity to read a firsthand account by someone who was there, who speaks the language, whose dispatches have always been conspicuous for their heavy use of quotes from "the people" (obtained at considerable personal risk) rather than merely from generals, ministers and others who can be comfortably interviewed in the hotel bar?

Some reviewers here accuse Michael of being an "imperialist," or otherwise try to place him in an ideological category.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By bridgette on October 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I,too, have lived in Haiti and now live in the Dominican Republic. And, yes, have read - no- devoured this book.I was confused why none of the NGO's or Haitians that I have met here or in Haiti shared the standard line on the¨"coup against Aristide" but were really greatful that he was gone. After reading this fast paced and detailed account of the dismal failure of Aristide, I understand why. What I do not understand is how the "cult of Aristide" continues -- except from people on his payroll. And I wonder where that money comes from? Eh? IF you are interested in Haiti, read this book!!
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful By B. Fountain III on January 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Notes from the Last Testament is an essential book for anyone seeking to understand Haiti in general and its upheavals of the last ten years in particular. Deibert doesn't pull punches: he names names, documents his sources, and levels scathing judgment on those he charges have betrayed Haiti's hopes for a decent future, from Aristide to corrupt police officers to thug-politicians across the ideological spectrum. If the writing and narrative seem somewhat tentative at first, keep reading; Deibert hits stride several chapters in, and the last half of the book is a truly riveting account of the Aristide regime's bloody downward spiral and eventual fall. Especially powerful are the author's accounts of his time among the Cité Soleil and Gonaives gangs, the young men and women born, as Deibert puts it, "in the worst place in the world."

It's all here--the chaos, waste and heartbreak of the past ten years, as well as the startling hits of beauty and mercy that Haiti continues to serve up in the midst of so much hell.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joy on October 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Looking at the reviews for this book it is clear readers either love it or hate it. I for one do not claim to have such specific insights and information as some reviewers seem to have but I will throw in my two cents nonetheless!

I enjoyed reading this book because it was the first time I was able to read really anything on Haiti even marginally analytical of Aristide's time in office. I came at my reading on the country of Haiti as one trying to discern the facts as best I could and become acquainted with the background of Haiti's struggles in the 1990's. Everywhere I turned to look every author was repeating the same Aristide worship while decrying various enemies, the West etc. etc. I can clearly see that Aristide was immensely popular with a very large segment of the population but political popularity in Haiti (and I argue probably in the world in general) is more often than not based not on a lot of solid reasoning but on sound bites played over the radio, the politician's own rhetoric, his/her promises and personality. Also no matter how popular or how wonderful a leader Aristide may have or may not have been he is not a saint for the simple reason that no man is - certainly no politician! To absolve Aristide of ANY and ALL wrongdoing, any and all responsibility for the nation of Haiti's condition under his rule and directly following his rule is ludicris.

I have been living in Haiti for a little over a year now and when you talk to people about Haiti and about Arisitide it is more often than not with an air of disappointment as they express their feelings about what could have been what might have been. They along with so many others were really hopeful as Aristide came to power but were disappointed.
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More About the Author

Michael Deibert is the author of In the Shadow of Saint Death: The Gulf Cartel and the Price of America's Drug War in Mexico (Lyons Press, 2014), The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair (Zed Books, 2013), published in cooperation with the Royal African Society, the International African Institute and the World Peace Foundation, and Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti (Seven Stories Press, 2005).

Michael's writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Miami Herald, Le Monde diplomatique, Folha de São Paulo, World Policy Journal, and The Huffington Post, among other venues. He has been a featured commentator on international affairs on the BBC, Al Jazeera, Channel 4, National Public Radio, WNYC New York Public Radio, and KPFK Pacifica Radio.

In 2012, he was awarded a grant from the International Peace Research Association, and in 2008 he was selected as a finalist for the Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism, sponsored by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, both in recognition of his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Michael's blog can be read at http://www.michaeldeibert.blogspot.com/ and he can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/michaelcdeibert.


Photo (C) Hilary Wallis

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Notes From the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti
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