100 books like The Big Truck That Went by

By Jonathan M. Katz,

Here are 100 books that The Big Truck That Went by fans have personally recommended if you like The Big Truck That Went by. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution

Katlyn Marie Carter Author Of Democracy in Darkness: Secrecy and Transparency in the Age of Revolutions

From my list on revolutionary ideas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of the eighteenth-century Atlantic World, specializing in the American and French Revolutions. The relationship between ideas and politics has fascinated me since I worked in media relations in Washington, DC. Because I think history can help us better understand our current political controversies and challenges, I write about the origins of representative democracy in the eighteenth century. I’m also an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame where I teach classes on colonial and revolutionary America, the Constitution, and history of the media.

Katlyn's book list on revolutionary ideas

Katlyn Marie Carter Why did Katlyn love this book?

The Haitian Revolution was long left out of the history of Atlantic revolutions, dismissed as a violent uprising of enslaved people without an ideological dimension.

Dubois’s book walks readers through the twists and turns of this decade-long revolution, highlighting the intellectual agency of enslaved and freed people and the ideological consequences of this transformative event.

The Haitian Revolution is a notoriously complicated event, but I found that this book provided coherence and a compelling analysis of the effects of this crucial moment in the history of democracy and movement for human rights. And it was a gripping read at that.

By Laurent Dubois,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Avengers of the New World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first and only successful slave revolution in the Americas began in 1791 when thousands of brutally exploited slaves rose up against their masters on Saint-Domingue, the most profitable colony in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Within a few years, the slave insurgents forced the French administrators of the colony to emancipate them, a decision ratified by revolutionary Paris in 1794. This victory was a stunning challenge to the order of master/slave relations throughout the Americas, including the southern United States, reinforcing the most fervent hopes of slaves and the worst fears of masters.

But, peace eluded Saint-Domingue as British and…


Book cover of Les Enfants des Héros

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?

Lyonel Trouillot is one of the most powerful novelists of our time, extremely well known in the Francophone world, though less so in the US, in part because of the difficulty of translating his intensely lyrical prose. He has a rare ability to make artistically sound texts based on very immediate reportage on the various Haitian crises. This particular novel is especially valuable in the way it relates the desperation of Haitian life today to the country’s heroic past.

By Lyonel Trouillot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Les Enfants des Héros as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Deux enfants courent, fuyant la misère du bidonville, le destin, le corps d'un père alcoolique et violent qu'ils viennent de tuer. Tableau d'une population désorientée et meurtrie, privée d'échappatoire, ce récit est un bouleversant cri d'alarme au coeur de l'indifférence.


Book cover of Dance on the Volcano

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?

Chauvet is another of the all-time great Haitian novelist, best known for her Amour, Colère, Folie, which depicted the horrors of the Duvalier regime--- obliquely and somewhat allegorically, but sharply enough that the book was banned and most copies destroyed—it did not become generally available until after the author’s death. La Danse sur le Volcan, a historical novel, is equally powerful and gives a wonderfully complete and complex view of all the complications of race, class, and culture that existed in Haiti while still a French sugar colony, on the eve of Revolution.

By Marie Vieux-Chauvet,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dance on the Volcano as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dance on the Volcano tells the story of two sisters growing up during the Haitian Revolution in a culture that swings heavily between decadence and poverty, sensuality and depravity. One sister, because of her singing ability, is able to enter into the white colonial society otherwise generally off limits to people of color. Closely examining a society sagging under the white supremacy of the French colonist rulers, Dance on the Volcano is one of only novels to closely depict the seeds and fruition of the Haitian Revolution, tracking an elaborate hierarchy of skin color and class through the experiences of…


Book cover of Nan Domi: An Initiate's Journey Into Haitian Vodou

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?

Nan Domi is the only book I know of that reports on the interior, private, mystical practices of Vodou—one of the world’s great religions, though much misunderstood and despised outside of Haiti. A preface I wrote for the book gives an efficient introduction to the basic history, beliefs, and practices of Vodou, providing the necessary context for Beaubrun’s more esoteric text.

By Mimerose Beaubrun,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"This new and valuable book delves into the 'interior' experience of voodoo, as opposed to the usual outsider focus on ritual and cosmology. In telling the story of her own initiation and painstaking education in voodoo, Beaubrun takes us into the mystical dimensions of this ancient religion."--The Guardian UK Like all the great religions Vodou has an external, public practice of rituals and ceremonies--and also an internal, mystical dimension. Before Nan Domi, works about Vodou have concentrated on the spectacular outward manifestations of Vodou observance--hypnotic drumming and chanting, frenetic dancing, fits of spirit possession. But practically all reports on Vodou…


Book cover of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida

Jason Vuic Author Of The Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream

From my list on modern Florida.

Why am I passionate about this?

Originally from Punta Gorda, Florida, I am an exiled Florida Man, living in Texas, and specialize in creative nonfiction. I love the absurd, the unusual, and enjoy finding ways to examine and teach history through unexpected topics and sometimes maligned or ridiculed things. My first book, for example, was on the infamous Yugo car. I then wrote a history of the ill-starred Sarajevo Olympics and the oh-for-twenty-six 1976-1977 Tampa Bay Bucs, and most recently a book on the wild heydays of Florida land development in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. I have a PhD in history from Indiana University Bloomington and have appeared on NPR’s "Weekend Edition," APM’s "Marketplace," and C-SPAN’S "Book TV."

Jason's book list on modern Florida

Jason Vuic Why did Jason love this book?

Gary Mormino ranges far and wide across the landscape and boundaries of a place that is at once America's southernmost state and the northernmost outpost of the Caribbean. From the capital, Tallahassee--a day's walk from the Georgia border--to Miami--a city distant but tantalizingly close to Cuba and Haiti--Mormino traces the themes of Florida's transformation: the echoes of old Dixie and a vanishing Florida; land booms and tourist empires; revolutions in agriculture, technology, and demographics; the seductions of the beach and the dynamics of a graying population; and the enduring but changing meanings of a dream state.

By Gary R. Mormino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Florida is a story of astonishing growth, a state swelling from 500,000 residents at the outset of the 20th century to some 16 million at the end. As recently as mid-century, on the eve of Pearl Harbor, Florida was the smallest state in the South. At the dawn of the millennium, it is the fourth largest in the country, a megastate, inspiring the invention of new words and expressions: space coast, climate control, growth management, retirement community, theme park, edge cities, shopping mall, boomburbs, beach renourishment, Interstate, and Internet. Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams attempts to understand the firestorm…


Book cover of Haiti After the Earthquake

Keith Madsen Author Of The Sons and Daughters of Toussaint

From my list on the life and history of Haiti.

Why am I passionate about this?

From the time I heard of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed over 200,000 people, my heart was drawn to that country. From 2012 to 2017 I lead five mission trips to Cap Haitian, where we toured mission work, helped Haitians build an elementary school, and met so many of these beautiful people. I ate the great cooking of “Mama Jo” who, along with her husband, hosted us. I gave “horsey” rides to children at a Port-au-Prince orphanage; and shared in prayer and singing with churches near Cap Haitian. In short, I fell in love with these people. How could I not write a novel of hope about them? 

Keith's book list on the life and history of Haiti

Keith Madsen Why did Keith love this book?

If you are looking for a book on Haiti's challenges, and whether or not there is long-term hope for this country, this is the book you should choose. The late Paul Farmer was a physician who has been involved for many years in improving Haiti's healthcare system, and after the 2010 earthquake worked with people like former US President Bill Clinton in helping the country to "build back better." I read the book between my first and second trips to Haiti and found it to be a treasure-trove of information on Haiti’s background, as well as sources of hope.

By Paul Farmer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Paul Farmer, doctor and aid worker, offers an inspiring insider's view of the relief effort.", Financial Times The book's greatest strength lies in its depiction of the post-quake chaos, In the book's more analytical sections the author's diagnosis of the difficulties of reconstruction is sharp." , Economist A gripping, profoundly moving book, an urgent dispatch from the front by one of our finest warriors for social justice." ,Adam Hochschild His honest assessment of what the people trying to help Haiti did well,and where they failed,is important for anyone who cares about the country or international aid in general." , Miami…


Book cover of Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family

Keith Madsen Author Of The Sons and Daughters of Toussaint

From my list on the life and history of Haiti.

Why am I passionate about this?

From the time I heard of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed over 200,000 people, my heart was drawn to that country. From 2012 to 2017 I lead five mission trips to Cap Haitian, where we toured mission work, helped Haitians build an elementary school, and met so many of these beautiful people. I ate the great cooking of “Mama Jo” who, along with her husband, hosted us. I gave “horsey” rides to children at a Port-au-Prince orphanage; and shared in prayer and singing with churches near Cap Haitian. In short, I fell in love with these people. How could I not write a novel of hope about them? 

Keith's book list on the life and history of Haiti

Keith Madsen Why did Keith love this book?

This is an incredibly touching book! Mitch Albom is the author of other excellent books, but Finding Chika has become my favorite. The story of how he and his wife brought a little Haitian child into their orphanage in Haiti, and then eventually when it was discovered she had brain cancer, into their own home, was hard to put down. As an author who has visited Haiti many times and played with children orphaned by the 2010 earthquake, I strongly empathized with this story of a suffering Haitian child. Albom’s prose is flawless, and his ability to draw in the reader is inspiring, and you will not regret checking this book out. 

By Mitch Albom,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Finding Chika as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

FROM THE MASTER STORYTELLER WHOSE BOOKS HAVE TOUCHED THE HEARTS OF OVER 40 MILLION READERS

'Mitch Albom sees the magical in the ordinary' Cecilia Ahern
__________

Chika Jeune came into Mitch Albom's life by chance. Growing up in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 Haiti Earthquake, at three years old she tragically lost her mother and was brought to the orphanage run by Mitch and his wife, Janine.

Chika made a quick impression. Brave and self-assured, she delighted those around her. But everything changed when Chika was diagnosed with a terminal disease that no doctor in Haiti could treat.

This…


Book cover of What Storm, What Thunder

Michele Wucker Author Of Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola

From my list on understanding Haiti.

Why am I passionate about this?

A love of literature and a summer with relatives in Belgium—a country divided by language and culture—inspired me to travel to Santo Domingo in 1988 to learn Spanish and study the fraught dynamics of two countries speaking different languages but sharing an island. My time in the Dominican Republic and Haiti inspired a lifelong exploration of complex issues. Today I write about risk, drawing on psychology, culture, policy, and economics, as in Why the Cocks Fight. My third book, The Gray Rhino, calls for a fresh look at obvious, looming threats. The sequel, You Are What You Risk, explores risk perceptions and attitudes through a comparative, socio-cultural lens.

Michele's book list on understanding Haiti

Michele Wucker Why did Michele love this book?

It’s impossible to understand contemporary Haiti without recognizing the impact of the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country, taking an estimated 300,000 lives and destroying many of the iconic historical sites in the capital city, Port-au-Prince. Chancy’s powerful novel of tragedy and resilience depicts the lead-up to and aftermath of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake via the interlinked stories of ten characters from different walks of life. These stories drive home both how different the experience of Haiti can be depending on socioeconomic class and race; yet also how connected so many Haitian stories are to each other.

By Myriam J A Chancy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

American Book Award Winner


Aspen Words Literary Prize Finalist


A NPR, Boston Globe, New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and Library Journal Best Book of the Year


“Stunning.” —Margaret Atwood


At the end of a long, sweltering day, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shakes the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. Award-winning author Myriam J. A. Chancy masterfully charts the inner lives of the characters affected by the disaster—Richard, an expat and wealthy water-bottling executive with a secret daughter; the daughter, Anne, an architect who drafts affordable housing structures for a global NGO; a small-time drug trafficker, Leopold, who pines for…


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 Haiti's Paper War: Post-Independence Writing, Civil War, and the Making of the Republic, 1804–1954

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?

A Professor of French and Francophone studies, Stieber describes the development of Haitian literature and print culture in the immediate aftermath of that nation’s revolution, when Haiti was divided between a southern Francocenteric republic and a northern anti-colonial monarchy. I’m impressed by all the ways in which this book illuminates the literary dimension of Haiti’s civil war, underscoring how writers on different sides of the conflict offered competing visions of Haiti’s past, present, and future. The book further explores how this cultural divide played out in successive Haitian governments and even in how historians write about Haiti today.

By Chelsea Stieber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

2021 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

Turns to the written record to re-examine the building blocks of a nation
Picking up where most historians conclude, Chelsea Stieber explores the critical internal challenge to Haiti's post-independence sovereignty: a civil war between monarchy and republic. What transpired was a war of swords and of pens, waged in newspapers and periodicals, in literature, broadsheets, and fliers. In her analysis of Haitian writing that followed independence, Stieber composes a new literary history of Haiti, that challenges our interpretations of both freedom struggles and the postcolonial. By examining internal dissent during the revolution, Stieber reveals…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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