Haiti-Then and Now
By Amy Wilentz
(Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781439198391, 448pp.)
Publication Date: April 13, 2010
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"The earthquake has unleashed a desperation I recognize from my long education in Haiti as the desperation of extreme poverty. A few blocks away, I heard an elderly Haitian arguing with an officer of the 82nd over a piece of rope or bungee cord the man needed to tie up a bundle of stuff. The man had no teeth and gray sprouts of hair and he held the cord in his hand and was trying to get back to his bundle. But the officer stopped him. The man spoke no English, the officer no Creole—but the officer knew that all scavenging had to stop now (as he said repeatedly), because the bulldozers were coming in and the Army did not want to bulldoze any scavengers. Finally though, the officer—rolling his eyes and shaking his head slightly, and looking up to the heavens in a combined gesture of impatience and resignation not uncommon among people new to Haiti—let the old man leave with his piece of rope."
—From the new introduction, "After the Earthquake"
Amy Wilentz is the author of The Rainy Season, Martyrs’ Crossing, and I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen. She has won the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN/Martha Albrand Non-Fiction Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award. She writes for The New Yorker and The Nation and teaches in the Literary Journalism program at UC Irvine.