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Island Beneath the Sea

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This is one I definitely want to read. The title refers to the place black slaves believed the dead went to find peace. Haitian slaveowners deliberately worked their slaves to death because it was cheaper to replace them than to give them enough rest and food to survive. Allende says Haitian slave women would kill the children they bore -- sending them to the "island beneath the sea" -- to spare them the agonies their parents were experiencing.

NPR: Allende talks about why she chose to write about slavery in Haiti.

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Hey bookfan. I finished this book. A slavery story set in Haiti with a peek at our boi Toussaint Louverture and then in New Orleans. I enjoyed it. I found it to be a page-turner and just had to find out what would happen. Like most slave stories it’s not easy to read [the cruelty is mind boggling – how did they think these horrors up?] but the historical elements were interesting. She even channeled a couple of Jane Eyre story lines. The characterization was a little lite. Like she was telling us about some of them instead of letting us know them through their dialog and actions. But overall I’d recommend it.

Crystal

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Like most slave stories it’s not easy to read [the cruelty is mind boggling – how did they think these horrors up?]

For a contemporary, non-fiction compendium of the horrors devised by slave owners and their overseers, read the online version of American Slavery As It Is. In 1839, the American Anti-Slavery Society published this 224-page encyclopedia of the unholy private tortures and public laws used to keep slaves in submission. The information was so brutal that the book came with this blurb: "True humanity consists not in a Squeamish Ear, but in listening to the story of human suffering and endeavoring to relieve it."

The book is a Gulag Archipelago for American slavery -- information that should never be forgotten. It should be a text for Southern school children until there is no more of this kind of nostalgia for evil.

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I'm reading Allende's Zorro now. The story of Zorro's childhood, young adulthood and how he got to be who he was. Very entertaining historical novel. Again, the cruelty of the Inquisition!

Crystal

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