The best books about Haiti 📚

Browse the best books on Haiti as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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

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

By Jonathan M Katz

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books about Haitian history and Haiti today

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Book cover of Les Enfants des Héros

Les Enfants des Héros

By Lyonel Trouillot

Why 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.

From the list:

The best books about Haitian history and Haiti today

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

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

By Mitch Albom

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books featuring the life and history of Haiti

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Book cover of Toussaint L'Ouverture: A Biography and Autobiography

Toussaint L'Ouverture: A Biography and Autobiography

By John Beard

Why this book?

This is the definitive biography on Toussaint. First published in 1863, it clearly showed me why Toussaint L’Ouverture was one of the most admired world leaders of his time. They called him “the Black Napoleon!” Reading this book brought back to mind that I did a report on Haiti and Toussaint back when I was in junior high (“a long time ago in a universe far, far away!") Even at the time I was impressed by how much the Haitian Revolution influenced our own Civil War.  

From the list:

The best books featuring the life and history of Haiti

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Book cover of The Chosen Place, the Timeless People

The Chosen Place, the Timeless People

By Paule Marshall

Why this book?

One of my all-time favorites. I think it is about Haiti, or it is a fictional island “Bourneville” that is based on Haiti. The novel describes a place linked to its history of enslavement and the battle for freedom. She is a beautiful deep-thinking writer. She carefully shows a group of white ethnographers going to this island, and how their attempts to "help" led to tragedy. It illustrates the pitfalls with international aid organizations. How often they damage, instead of help. And the novel is timely to this day. 

From the list:

The best books by African American and Caribbean female writers

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Book cover of The Comedians

The Comedians

By Graham Greene

Why this book?

Three American men meet aboard a ship destined for 1950s Port-Au-Prince. These men, each of whom is a small-time big shot with inconsistent backgrounds, arrive in Haiti as “Papa Doc” Duvalier consolidates power. Much of this timeless story takes place in and around a darkly mysterious hotel that caters to an ebbing flow of foreigners. I say “timeless” because over half a century has passed since Greene wrote The Comedians, and the country of Haiti remains a mystery to that small subset of Americans that has deigned pay attention to it.

From the list:

The best novels set in the Caribbean

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