|mattGAM||Date: Tuesday, 2012-06-19, 9:11 PM | Message # 1|
|Ian Thomson’s book The Dead Yard explores the hidden world of Jamaica’s past and present, uncovering secrets of its corrupted politics and crumbling infrastructure. The title refers to the country’s funeral practice, where loved ones gather around the person’s house for up to nine days. The Dead Yard plunges deep into Jamaica’s history, from its three centuries under British control, through independence up to modern day. Thomson looks into the statistics of Jamaican society, noting its low literacy rates, high rate of crime and violence, and poor health care system. It’s noted as “a kind of corrupted Eden”, cloaked with brochures of sandy beaches and carefree island lifestyle. In this book, author Ian Thomson travels the island in search of all different types of people. He stops at churches, Rastafarian communities, a whorehouse, ghettos, and even a leper’s house, all to gain knowledge of the dark side of Jamaica. He sees the racial discrimination, poverty, and political corruption throughout Kingston and Tivoli Gardens, and witnesses firsthand the power and authority of drug lords like Chris “Dudus” Coke. He interviews several individuals, who each express their views of Jamaican society through detailed stories and life experiences. |
This book dealt a lot with the concepts covered in AP Human Geography. The four units that stood out were Cultural Patterns and Processes, Political Organization of Space, and Industrialization/Development. Several chapters of the book cover the culture of Jamaica, including music, food, rituals/traditions, and general lifestyle. Thomson analyzes the different statistics of the island, such as dependency ratios and population pyramids. He states that the doctor to population ratio is 1 to 5,240 and 8 out of 10 children are born to single mothers. The author describes the government and political structure of Jamaica, before and after independence. He elaborates on the corruption of the politicians, their ties to drug lords and gangs, and the violence that ensues between parties. Finally, Thomson focuses much on the economy and development of the capital city, Kingston. He explores the slums of Tivoli Gardens, the street markets, shops, and various vendors. Overall, the author takes the bright side of Jamaica and turns it upside down.
I’d give this book 4 stars; I thought it was a good read, but awfully depressing. It ruined my expectations of Jamaica, but opened my eyes to the reality of a twisted island. The diction was comprehensible and smooth-flowing, and I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the bleak truth about Jamaica.