By Robert Lawless
Garland Publishing, Inc. New York, 1990
ISBN # 0-8240-6543-3 (hard bound, $48.00)

by Bob Corbett

Robert Lawless has upgraded his excellent 1985 bibliography which he did for the University of Florida, Gainesville, into a new, easy to use book.

The bibliography is organized as 31 separate bibliographic essays with such topics as bibliographies themselves, 10 chapters on different periods of Haitian history, several chapters on various arts, an important and unusual section on AIDS and several chapters on the sciences, including one specifically on agriculture.

Like the earlier volume, Lawless numbers each entry. However, in a much improved structure, each work is numbered only once. Then, if the work is repeated in some other chapter, and many such repetitions necessarily occur, the book is marked with and asterisk (*) and the reader is referred to the earlier entry. E.g. in the chapter on education one entry is:

In sum Lawless cites 2040 works on Haiti, and the overwhelming bulk of these books and articles are in English. Lawless does cite some Creole and French sources, but these constitute fewer than 200 of the 2040 entries.

Since this is not merely a list of entries, but a series of bibliographic essays, Lawless comments on the various entries, identifying which sources he recommends above others. Also, since the bibliography is arranged by topic, each essay is an excellent overview of what's available to the researcher.

Lawless claims that the largest collection of Haitiana in the United States is that of the University of Florida system. This may well be. But it is unfortunate that he didn't discuss the impressive collection available in the City Library of New York. While perhaps not as complete as the U. of Florida, the City Library's must rank as one of the important collection of works on Haiti.

Anyone with a serious interest in doing research on Haiti should have the Lawless volume. Given the numbering system and organizational qualities of the book it will be quite easy to update this collection. Robert Lawless has provided an important service to those interested in Haiti. This is an excellent book for readers of STRETCH to recommend to their local libraries.


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Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu