List member, Michele Wucker

Date: Sat, 7 Nov 1998 14:49:28 -0800 (PST)

Bob Corbettcorbetre@webster.edu

A new book will be published in January 1999 (tentative date) by list member Michelle Wucker. It is entitled WHY THE COCK FIGHTS: DOMINICANS, HAITIANS, AND THE STRUGGLE FOR HISPANIOLA. Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, will be the publisher.

I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, and may not for a while, so I thought I'd at least describe what I can tell you to get you ready for its coming in just a short time. The promotional literature says this:

"Like two roosters in a fighting arena, the Dominican Republic and Haiti are encircled by barriers of geography and poverty. They share one Caribbean island, Hispaniola, but their histories are as deeply divided as their cultures: one French-speaking and black, one Spanish-speaking and mulatto. And just as the owners of gamecocks contrive battles between their birds (a favorite sport in both countries) as a way of playing out human conflicts, Haitian and Dominican leaders often stir up nationalist disputes and exaggerate their cultural and racial differences as a way of deflecting other kinds of turmoil.
"Michele Wucker's vivid account of these struggles both on Hispaniola and in the United States takes us to the haunted mountains where, sixty years ago, the Dominican dictator Trujillo ordered 30,000 Haitians to be killed: to Vodou rituals in Dominican sugarcane fields where Haitians work as virtual slaves; and to the ringside of cockfights in all three countries. She focuses especially on the features in Caribbean history that are still affecting Hispaniola today, including the often contradictory policies of the United States toward both nations.
"Wucker's report on the life of Dominican and Haitian migrants in the United States is essential if we are to understand their contribution to the policies of our hemisphere."
"Michele Wucker, born in 1969 is a freelance writer who reports regularly on Caribbean affairs for both Dominican and North American papers. She lives in New York City. This is her first book.

Hardcover version: $27.50 U.S. $40.00 Canadian.

Michele's book comes at a timely period. Both Sammy Sosa's dramatic race with Mark McGwire has brought unusual attention to Dominicans, and the very issue which Wucker looks at has been treated in novelistic form by Edwidge Danticat in her new novel, THE FARMING OF BONES. Even the devastation in both nations by hurricane Georges has brought attention to the interrelationship of these two nations on the one isle.

Michele's book will be a welcomed edition to the literature of this often unspoken of topic. I congratulate her on the book and look forward to reading it as soon as time permits.

Bob Corbett


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Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu