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Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians,…

Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola

by Michele Wucker

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0809097133, Paperback)

The Caribbean island of Hispaniola is home to historic, ongoing strife between two countries deeply divided by race, language, and history yet forced constantly into confrontation by their shared geography. In her first book, American journalist Michele Wucker reports from both Haiti and the Dominican Republic on the complex relations between these two cultures and sheds light on the sources of their struggles both in their island home and in the United States.

This book is charged from the start with the violence and posturing of blood sport, as Wucker observes her first Haitian cockfight: "The air cracks with the impact of stiffened feathers as each bird tries to push the other to the ground. Around the ring, the Haitian men shout to one another and wave dirty wads of gourdes in the air, seeking bets.... Soon, the feathers of both cocks are slick with blood." Popular in both countries, these fights become a totemic image for the author, who finds in them, as in the many clashes between Hispaniola's two cultures, "both division and community, opposite sides of the same coin." This is a fine historical primer, buoyed along by Wucker's graceful, observant prose style. --Maria Dolan

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:49 -0400)

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