100 books like Haiti's Paper War

By Chelsea Stieber,

Here are 100 books that Haiti's Paper War fans have personally recommended if you like Haiti's Paper War. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History

James E. Crisp Author Of Sleuthing the Alamo: Davy Crockett's Last Stand and Other Mysteries of the Texas Revolution

From my list on history books written from hidden, elusive, and mysterious sources.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about bringing back to life persons from the past who have been forgotten, misunderstood, or even deliberately mischaracterized. In order to get to the truth, there are a host of myths that must be shattered or discarded. Most of the histories that I have written have done precisely this–showing the fallacy of familiar myths and discovering the hidden truths about people and events that have been distorted, often by some of the most popular literature. In order to achieve these results, I have had to spend years in “boring” archives in order to reveal people and events that are never boring.

James' book list on history books written from hidden, elusive, and mysterious sources

James E. Crisp Why did James love this book?

I was blown away by this book because it spoke to my own efforts to find voices from the past that had been silenced, sometimes for centuries, by those who did not want certain stories to be told. Sometimes, the silencing was by legal suppression or even outright murder.

We’ve all heard that history is written by the winners, but how often do we think about the libraries and archives that are created by the winners, and how often the losers’ stories are kept out of these repositories? Even when scattered evidence is found, it is usually ignored, not only by the historians who write the approved versions of the past but also by the readers who fail to recognize inconvenient truths when they are confronted by them.

By Michel-Rolph Trouillot,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Silencing the Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now part of the HBO docuseries Exterminate All the Brutes, written and directed by Raoul Peck

The 20th anniversary edition of a pioneering classic that explores the contexts in which history is produced—now with a new foreword by renowned scholar Hazel Carby
 
Placing the West’s failure to acknowledge the Haitian Revolution—the most successful slave revolt in history—alongside denials of the Holocaust and the debate over the Alamo, Michel-Rolph Trouillot offers a stunning meditation on how power operates in the making and recording of history.

This modern classic resides at the intersection of history, anthropology, Caribbean, African-American, and post-colonial studies, and…


Book cover of Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

Michael Kwass Author Of Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground

From my list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University who studies the history of France and the French empire. My research stretches from the age of Louis XIV through the French Revolution, exploring questions of political economy, capitalism, empire, the Enlightenment, and popular culture. At a moment when historical research is becoming increasingly specialized, my work builds bridges between political, economic, and cultural history. 

Michael's book list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France

Michael Kwass Why did Michael love this book?

I find this book as enlightening as it is useful. In a single volume, Dubois provides a sweeping history of the Haitian Revolution and its legacy. He recounts not only how Haitians rose up against slavery to establish their own independent nation, but how that nation struggled internally to define itself while contending externally with a racist and hostile world order.

By Laurent Dubois,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Haiti as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Even before the recent earthquake destroyed much of the country, Haiti was known as a benighted place of poverty and corruption. Maligned and misunderstood, the nation has long been blamed by many for its own wretchedness. But as acclaimed historian Laurent Dubois demonstrates, Haiti's troubles owe more to a legacy of international punishment for the original sin of staging the only successful slave revolt in the world. Dubois vividly depicts the isolation and impoverishment that followed the 1804 rebellion: the crushing indemnities imposed by the former French rulers, which initiated a cycle of debt; the multiple interventions by the U.S.…


Book cover of The Haitians: A Decolonial History

Michael Kwass Author Of Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground

From my list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University who studies the history of France and the French empire. My research stretches from the age of Louis XIV through the French Revolution, exploring questions of political economy, capitalism, empire, the Enlightenment, and popular culture. At a moment when historical research is becoming increasingly specialized, my work builds bridges between political, economic, and cultural history. 

Michael's book list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France

Michael Kwass Why did Michael love this book?

When you think about Columbus arriving in Haiti, Casimir asks, do you imagine yourself on the boat or on the shore? With deep insight, Casimir writes from the perspective of those on the shore, producing a decolonial history that emphasizes how rural Haitians drew on African traditions to resist the brutal system of plantation slavery imposed by French colonists. Further, he shows how patterns of popular resistance persisted during and after the Haitian Revolution, when Haitian elites attempted to revive parts of the plantation system. This is one of the most insightful and compelling books I read this year.

By Jean Casimir, Laurent Dubois (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Haitians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sweeping history, leading Haitian intellectual Jean Casimir argues that the story of Haiti should not begin with the usual image of Saint-Domingue as the richest colony of the eighteenth century. Rather, it begins with a reconstruction of how individuals from Africa, in the midst of the golden age of imperialism, created a sovereign society based on political imagination and a radical rejection of the colonial order, persisting even through the U.S. occupation in 1915.

The Haitians also critically retheorizes the very nature of slavery, colonialism, and sovereignty. Here, Casimir centers the perspectives of Haiti's moun andeyo - the…


Book cover of Entrepôt of Revolutions: Saint-Domingue, Commercial Sovereignty, and the French-American Alliance

Michael Kwass Author Of Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground

From my list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University who studies the history of France and the French empire. My research stretches from the age of Louis XIV through the French Revolution, exploring questions of political economy, capitalism, empire, the Enlightenment, and popular culture. At a moment when historical research is becoming increasingly specialized, my work builds bridges between political, economic, and cultural history. 

Michael's book list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France

Michael Kwass Why did Michael love this book?

Covo investigates long-neglected economic aspects of the Haitian Revolution. Beginning in the pre-revolutionary period, when the French called the colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) the “Pearl of the Caribbean,” this deeply researched book spotlights the role Haiti played as a commodities hub during the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions. I find this book particularly important because it shows how imperial trade and racial capitalism defined the age of commercial republicanism.

By Manuel Covo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Entrepôt of Revolutions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Age of Revolutions has been celebrated for the momentous transition from absolute monarchies to representative governments and the creation of nation-states in the Atlantic world. Much less recognized than the spread of democratic ideals was the period's growing traffic of goods, capital, and people across imperial borders and reforming states' attempts to control this mobility.

Analyzing the American, French, and Haitian revolutions in an interconnected narrative, Manuel Covo centers imperial trade as a driving force, arguing that commercial factors preceded and conditioned political change across the revolutionary Atlantic. At the heart of these transformations was the "entrepot," the island…


Book cover of Claire of the Sea Light

Robert Lunday Author Of Disequilibria: Meditations on Missingness

From my list on using disappearance in innovative ways.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my stepfather disappeared in 1982, disappearance has been my obsession. In writing Disequilibria, I read everything I could on missing persons. By now, I might be the chief authority on Missingness! – that is, on disappearance as a theoretical construct. I’m especially interested in how, across different sensibilities (in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, but also law, social science, journalism, philosophy, history, and media studies), we can compose a shared language and create shared understanding. My larger goal is to discover creative and redemptive ways of responding to loss, grief, and trauma; to find how disappearance in all its forms creates a framework for understanding what it means to be human.

Robert's book list on using disappearance in innovative ways

Robert Lunday Why did Robert love this book?

Haitian-born Edwidge Danticat’s linked short-story collections brilliantly balance a focus on detail, gesture, and situation with a cumulative vision of place and fateful circumstance.

In Claire of the Sea Light, the disappearance of a young girl frames a sequence of tales about several members of the small seaside community where the girl lives with her father.

After Claire’s sudden disappearance in the opening narrative, we follow the adults’ betrayals, sacrifices, and missteps to the final story, when the missing girl’s own perceptions provide a moral and imaginative frame for the family and community she must now choose to rejoin or escape permanently.

By Edwidge Danticat,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Claire of the Sea Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the national bestselling author of Brother, I’m Dying and The Dew Breaker: a “fiercely beautiful” novel (Los Angeles Times) that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing.

Just as her father makes the wrenching decision to send her away for a chance at a better life, Claire Limyè Lanmè—Claire of the Sea Light—suddenly disappears. As the people of the Haitian seaside community of Ville Rose search for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed. In this stunning novel about…


Book cover of The Comedians

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman Author Of The Far Side of the Desert

From my list on books combining international political intrigue, romance, and family drama.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my career as a journalist, including working as a reporter on an international newspaper. I left full-time journalism to write fiction where I can combine an interest in international affairs with stories of characters and issues of the heart which drive individuals and often shape events. Over the years I’ve worked and traveled with international organizations, serving as Vice President of PEN International, and on the boards and in other roles focusing on human rights, education, and refugees. I’ve been able to travel widely and witness events up close, walking along the edge of worlds and discovering the bonds that keep us from falling off.

Joanne's book list on books combining international political intrigue, romance, and family drama

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman Why did Joanne love this book?

For me Graham Greene is the master of the literary novel of political intrigue, the literary political thriller writer who spans the globe in his narrative reach. It is difficult to focus on only one of his novels, all have influenced, moved, and taught me, but for the purposes of this list I chose The Comedians.

When I discovered Graham Greene decades ago, I started reading his many novels and then rereading them, immersed in his worlds, trying to learn how he did what he did, but of course, what he did was unique to his perspective, experience, and talent.

The Comedians spins out its story in the dangerous landscape of Haiti under the regime of Papa Doc and the Tontons Macoute secret police. I still remember the sinister tone and compelling narrative drive of the book on my first reading as the innocent American, the sophisticated returning hotel…

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Comedians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three men meet on a ship bound for Haiti, a world in the grip of the corrupt "Papa Doc" and the Tontons Macoute, his sinister secret police. Brown the hotelier, Smith the innocent American and Jones the confidence man are the "Comedians" of Graham Greene's title.


Book cover of The Big Truck That Went by: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster

Madison Smartt Bell Author Of Master of the Crossroads

From my list on Haitian history and Haiti today.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was drawn to Haiti for two reasons; the Haitian Revolution is the only one of the three 18th century upheavals to fulfill the declared ideology of the French and American Revolutions by extending basic human rights to all people, not just white people. Secondly, or maybe I should put it first, the practice of Vodou makes Haiti one of the few places where one can meet divinity in the flesh, an experience I coveted, although (as it is written) it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.

Madison's book list on Haitian history and Haiti today

Madison Smartt Bell Why did Madison love this book?

Katz was in Haiti as an AP stringer at the time of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Port au Prince and was the only non-Haitian reporter to experience that event directly. He went on to do investigative reporting in the aftermath of the quake and was the one to discover that one of the UN deployments had introduced cholera into Haiti by building latrines that drained into the Artibonite River. Katz’s book is sharp and thorough on the damage done to Haiti by both well- and ill-intentioned foreign interference, and also includes a short, clear, efficient, and accurate history of the country from its eighteenth-century founding to the present.

By Jonathan M. Katz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Big Truck That Went by as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the aftermath of the devastating 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010, there was an outpouring of support and aid from countries around the world. Yet, two years after the quake, seemingly little has changed as the country continues to suffer from widespread poverty, crippled infrastructure, and a cholera epidemic. Acommon Haitian street slang refers to"the big truck," the half-hearted efforts by the "blancs" who arrive to help but wind up bypassing the victims. In The Big Truck That Went By, award-winning author Jonathan Katz ties together the two crises that continue to cripple Haiti: the aftermath of the…


Book cover of Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic

Ariel Mae Lambe Author Of No Barrier Can Contain It: Cuban Antifascism and the Spanish Civil War

From my list on understanding Cuba’s turbulent 1930s.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a history major when I left for a Havana study abroad semester in 2003, but I had not studied Cuba. My introduction was a University of Havana class on the period of the Cuban Republic, in which I sat surrounded by Cuban students. My classroom learning was aided by the public history representations all around me in the city. I was hooked. I wrote my undergraduate thesis at Yale on Cuban activist intellectuals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and a few years later went on the begin my doctorate in Latin American History at Columbia. I have been a historian of Cuba ever since, 20 years.

Ariel's book list on understanding Cuba’s turbulent 1930s

Ariel Mae Lambe Why did Ariel love this book?

In Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic, Melina Pappademos studies the participation in and contributions to Cuban politics by Cubans of African descent, particularly those of relatively elite status, during the entire period of the Cuban Republic (1902–1958). This work is not primarily about popular politics in the manner of Whitney or Farber; rather, it examines the impressive ingenuity of the tiny Black elite at working the patronage system embedded in formal politics in Cuba to gain advantages for itself (and sometimes causing gains to trickle down to the Black masses in the form of vote-buying). Although she does not focus on broader areas of Black popular mobilization, Pappademos acknowledges the importance to this end of mass organizations such as labor unions and the Cuban Communist Party and discusses challenges to the Black elite by non-elite Black voices. 

By Melina Pappademos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While it was not until 1871 that slavery in Cuba was finally abolished, African-descended people had high hopes for legal, social, and economic advancement as the republican period started. In Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic , Melina Pappademos analyzes the racial politics and culture of black civic and political activists during the Cuban Republic. The path to equality, Pappademos reveals, was often stymied by successive political and economic crises, patronage politics, and profound racial tensions. In the face of these issues, black political leaders and members of black social clubs developed strategies for expanding their political authority and…


Book cover of Antiracism in Cuba: The Unfinished Revolution

Rachel Hynson Author Of Laboring for the State: Women, Family, and Work in Revolutionary Cuba, 1959–1971

From my list on defying the narrative of early revolutionary Cuba.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the eldest daughter raised in an Evangelical home in rural Pennsylvania, I was immersed in normative, Anglo notions of gender and the family. I built on this embodied experience to cultivate expertise in discourse about the family and labor in early revolutionary Cuba. Perhaps surprisingly, the celebration of patriarchy, monogamy, and heterosexuality that bracketed my youth was also an important element of Cuban revolutionary discourse of the 1960s—albeit within a very different context. I received my PhD in Latin American and Caribbean History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College. I am now an independent scholar.

Rachel's book list on defying the narrative of early revolutionary Cuba

Rachel Hynson Why did Rachel love this book?

This refreshing book uncovers the reality behind Cuba’s so-called raceless Revolution. Benson traces early, state-led campaigns against racism, both their accomplishments and missteps. She reveals that in response to the new government’s claims to have eradicated racial discrimination, some Afro-Cubans rejected this Pollyanna rhetoric and mobilized for true racial equality. But Benson doesn’t just examine domestic racial policies and debates; she also delves into transnational exchanges between Cubans, exiled Cubans, and African Americans—rightfully situating Afro-Cubans within postcolonial, global movements against anti-Blackness. 

By Devyn Spence Benson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Antiracism in Cuba as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Analyzing the ideology and rhetoric around race in Cuba and south Florida during the early years of the Cuban revolution, Devyn Spence Benson argues that ideas, stereotypes, and discriminatory practices relating to racial difference persisted despite major efforts by the Cuban state to generate social equality. Drawing on Cuban and U.S. archival materials and face-to-face interviews, Benson examines 1960s government programs and campaigns against discrimination, showing how such programs frequently negated their efforts by reproducing racist images and idioms in revolutionary propaganda, cartoons, and school materials.

Building on nineteenth-century discourses that imagined Cuba as a raceless space, revolutionary leaders embraced…


Book cover of Communities of Resistance: Writings on Black Struggles for Socialism

Arun Kundnani Author Of The Muslims Are Coming: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror

From my list on racism in Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Kundnani writes about racial capitalism and Islamophobia, surveillance and political violence, and Black radical movements. He is the author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror and The End of Tolerance: racism in 21st century Britain, which was selected as a New Statesman book of the year. He has written for the Nation, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Vice, and The Intercept. Born in London, he moved to New York in 2010. A former editor of the journal Race & Class, he was miseducated at Cambridge University, and holds a PhD from London Metropolitan University. He has been an Open Society fellow and a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.

Arun's book list on racism in Britain

Arun Kundnani Why did Arun love this book?

A. Sivanandan was a key intellectual of the Asian and African-Caribbean working-class movements in Britain during their insurgent heyday from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. The essays collected in this volume, written between 1982 and 1990, are about how those movements were disaggregated and undermined – laying the ground for today’s racist Britain. The son of a rural postal clerk from the hinterland of a minor colonial territory, Sivanandan fled Sri Lanka after the anti-Tamil pogroms of 1958 and arrived in London as a refugee. The socialism the book advocates is poetic, loving, joyful, and centered upon the experiences of Third World peoples. Not a single sentence of Communities of Resistance is clunky or lacking in feeling.

By A. Sivanandan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Communities of Resistance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ambalavaner Sivanandan was one of Britain's most influential radical thinkers. As Director of the Institute of Race Relations for forty years, his work changed the way that we think about race, racism, globalisation and resistance. Communities of Resistance collects together some of his most famous essays, including his excoriating polemic on Thatcherism and the left "The Hokum of New Times".

This updated edition contains a new preface by Gary Younge and an introduction by Arun Kundnani.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in politics, Haiti, and black people?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about politics, Haiti, and black people.

Politics Explore 713 books about politics
Haiti Explore 41 books about Haiti
Black People Explore 72 books about black people