The best books for plunging into the maritime Caribbean

The Books I Picked & Why

The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution

By Julius S. Scott

The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution

Why this book?

The Common Wind is a fascinating history of how an array of people from runaway slaves to refugees from the American and French Revolutions formed a part of a clandestine communication network. This network was facilitated by inter-island commerce that disrupted and triggered “currents of revolution” like the slave rebellion turned revolution in late eighteenth Haiti. This work is a classic. It continues to inspire historians to think about mobility, information, and revolutionary change. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

In the Eye of All Trade: Bermuda, Bermudians, and the Maritime Atlantic World, 1680-1783

By Michael J. Jarvis

In the Eye of All Trade: Bermuda, Bermudians, and the Maritime Atlantic World, 1680-1783

Why this book?

In the Eye of All Trade is a gigantic book. Do not let the book’s size scare you. It tells the history of Bermuda, and the greater Caribbean, from a maritime perspective. In six chapters, Jarvis traces how Bermuda transitioned from tobacco to maritime society. If you stick with it, you will uncover how Bermudian seafarers traveled as far as Belize to facilitate an inter-island trade in salt, mahogany, and even turtles. Bermudian success rested on adaptability to their isolated location.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Windward Road: Adventures of a Naturalist on Remote Caribbean Shores

By Archie Carr

The Windward Road: Adventures of a Naturalist on Remote Caribbean Shores

Why this book?

The Windward Road is a whimsical yet eye-opening account of the lesser-explored communities who hunted and ate turtles along the Caribbean coast of Central America and islands in the Caribbean Sea. Although Archie Carr was a renowned herpetologist, he was also a superb storyteller. His adventures will undoubtedly make you laugh, squirm, and empathize with the turtles and the communities that hunted them.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Far Tortuga

By Peter Matthiessen

Far Tortuga

Why this book?

Peter Matthiessen was considered one of America’s great wilderness writers. Yet in an interview, before he died in 2014, Matthiessen identified Far Tortuga as his personal favorite of all the books he had written. In this novel, Matthiessen offers a fictional account of his participation on one of the last turtle hunting voyages in the Caribbean. Drawing on his experience on the said voyage in the 1960s, Matthiessen vividly displays his keen observation skills with his depictions of the Caymanian turtle hunters and the challenges of this last generation of turtlemen. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Old Man and the Sea

By Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea

Why this book?

The Old Man and the Sea is a classic American literary work. Hemingway in evocative and precise language helps you to empathize with Santiago, the main character and life-long mariner, who struggles to capture a huge marlin off the coast of Cuba. Since Hemingway was a sportsman, he takes the time to recreate the sensorial experience of life at sea.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists