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Rituals of Power & Rebellion: The Carnival Tradition in Trinidad & Tobago, 1763-1962

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0948390807
ISBN-10: 0948390808
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Editorial Reviews


“A highly original. I haven’t seen anything remotely like this. -- Dr. Fred Cooper, Professor of History, University of Michigan <br /><br />“A vigorous, painstaking, well-researched, critical study of an important and interesting subject. -- Dr. Maxwell Owusu, Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan<br /><br />“Certainly the best book I have read on Caribbean history.” --Kenneth Tannis, MA Toronto, Canada

About the Author

Hollis Urban Liverpool was the Director of Culture for the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago up to 1999 and is currently the Director of the Carnival Institute, a division of the National Carnival Commission. He holds a BA and MA in History from the University of the West Indies; a MA in African History and a Ph.D. in History and Ethnomusicology from the University of Michigan, a Post-grad Diploma in Education from the University of the West Indies; and a Certificate of Philosophy from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He has published four books and written several papers on Trinidad & TobagoÂ’s culture, carnival and calypso. As calypsonian Chalkdust, he has been crowned Calypso Monarch of Trinidad & Tobago five times, and World Calypso Monarch in New York on the two occasions the contest was held.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 518 pages
  • Publisher: Frontline Distribution International (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0948390808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0948390807
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,476,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael De Gale on December 9, 2001
November 26, 2001
A masterpiece of social history, Dr.Liverpool's book, "Rituals of Power & Rebellion -The Carnival Tradition in Trinidad & Tobago 1763-1962" is an invaluable addition to the scattered body of literature available on this topic. Hollis "Chalkie" Liverpool, has successfully managed to put into context, the social, political, economic and cultural forces which inadvertently came together to create the greatest show on earth. Rituals of Power & Rebellion is an in-depth study of the development of Trinidad carnival. It reveals that what appeared to be simply a musical bacchanal, was in fact the struggle of an oppressed people to maintain their cultural identity in a land of foreign domination, class struggle, economic deprivation and political strife, The Trinidad carnival provided an outlet for the maintenance of sanity and a powerful weapon to resist oppression & injustice.
Dr. Liverpool has done the people of Trinidad and Tobago a tremendous favour by making this book available for posterity. He has set a standard in a West Indian context, that is rivaled only by Dr. Williams' "Capitalism & Slavery" and Walter Rodney's "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" in terms of his documentation of historical events. The extensive research that went into the writing of this book is beyond impressive and the fact that is was written by a son with the caliber of "Chalkie" as opposed to a foreign observer is a credit to West Indian scholarship.
This book should be read by anyone interested in the history of Trinidad and should be compulsory reading for students of West Indian history at the University level. To a griot and historian, I say Chuba Dubai.
J. Michael De Gale
Toronto, Canada.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By frontlinebooks on April 15, 2001
"Rituals Of Power and Rebellion" by noted historian and calypsonian, Dr. Hollis "chalkdust" Liverpool, is a masterpiece of scholarship, insight and impressive research. An in-depth study of the evolution of Carnival in the Caribbean and in Trinidad & Tobago in particular, "Rituals Of Power & Rebellion" is that history lesson, which needed to be told and which now needs to be read by all people of the African Diaspora. Dr. Liverpool uses his wonderful skills as a storyteller to keep his readers enthralled as he unravels the many layers of social, anthropological, cultural and musical history, which have contributed to the survival and evolution of Carnival. As a history of Carnival, "Rituals Of Power & Rebellion is unparalleled. It covers all aspects of Carnival's growth and evolution. The book takes the reader beyond the shores of Trinidad & Tobago as it examines the strong cultural and social ties, which kept the displaced and enslaved African closely connected to his African traditions, as evidenced by the nature and characteristics of the Caribbean masquerade. "Enslavement, then, did not cut the cultural rope linking Africa to the New World. Rather, there was always continuity and change. ... The Carnival in Trinidad then, was filled with African traditions of mask, masking, masquerading, singing and dancing." Dr. Liverpool shows how European and other ethnic traditions also influenced the manner in which Carnival evolved. "The tradition of Carnival, it will be seen, was utilzed by the people as part of their organized cultural resistance, to check the imposition of European values and customs on Africans generally." "Rituals Of Power & Rebellion" is a wealth of information.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Henrietta on June 16, 2004
Book Review.
Prof. Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool,
Rituals of Power & Rebellion. The Carnival of Trinidad and Tobago 1763 - 1962. Chicago: Research Associates School Times Publications and Frontline Distribution Int'l Inc., 2001. ISBN 0-94839-080-8
Dr. Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool has a natural talent for writing. The roots of the Carnival tradition, the history of calypso, the music, the dancing, and the masquerading date back to the place of origin, the homelands of the Africans, in the Western regions of Africa, before the period of slavery and forced migration to Trinidad. In the 18th and 19th century in Trinidad, the lyrics, the melodies, the tunes, the call/response style, everything related to calypso, were eventually affected by the Spiritual Baptists' arrival to Trinidad from the US. The Shango music and the African style of dancing from Africa were brought to Trinidad and Tobago by the slaves, and as a result of adaptation to their new environments, the Africans produced "the calypso". The Carnival and the calypso cannot be separated, for the Africans created their new style of masquerading and singing to vent their anger and frustrations from their oppression during their period of enslavement. "Rituals of Power and Rebellion" and the sequel "From the Horse's Mouth" are two books that go together and deserve recognition not only for the literary style, but for their authenticity as historical texts that shed light on a topic that few historians have discussed before. It is true that texts prior to these scholarly books were Eurocentric in their outlook.
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