From Library Journal
In July 1915, U.S. armed forces occupied Haiti, where they remained until 1934. Renda (history and women's studies, Mt. Holyoke Coll.) explores the intellectual underpinnings of the U.S. military and political actions and how the occupation affected American intellectuals and artists. Supporting the economic and military reasons for the occupation was a sense of paternalism and racism. Haitians were seen as a backward, inferior people needing the white man's benevolent protection. This protection turned at times to violence, as U.S. marines suppressed Haitian uprisings during the occupation. In turn, the exotic nature of Haiti as a whole, and the lure of its voodoo tradition in particular, shaped individual Marines along with black and white American thinkers, writers, and artists: Orson Welles, Eugene O'Neill, James Weldon, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston produced wonderful works of art inspired by Haiti. Renda uses a wide collection of materials from diaries, memoirs, letters, books, plays, and the arts to produce an excellent cultural study of the development of American imperialism. Recommended for all libraries. Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ., Parkersburg
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Renda's interpretation of Haiti as 'America's Africa' combines an empathetic analysis of the American military presence with a provocative discussion of interventionist paternalism's impact on America's identity. (Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado College)