The Black History Truth: Jamaica

The Sharpest Thorn in Britain's Caribbean Colonies

Non-Fiction - Historical
112 Pages
Reviewed on 08/24/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

It is time to learn the stories of some nations in a more equitable way - not from the point of view of the conquerors but of the oppressed. This is why books like The Black History Truth: Jamaica by Pamela Gayle arouse great interest in a conscious reader. This book tells the story of 'The Sharpest Thorn in Britain's Caribbean Colonies,' focusing on the 16th to 19th centuries. Through extensive use of sources and images, Gayle sheds light on the injustices perpetrated by the British and analyzes the stigmatization of Eurocentric historiography, which portrayed unfavorably behaviors and customs of groups of people it could not understand.

Although the subject is complex, this book is clear and precise. Gayle tackles so many topics that she arouses the admiration of readers with her profound knowledge of Jamaica. She is very direct when she blames the British, but the evidence she brings is overwhelming. In The Black History Truth: Jamaica, you will not only find descriptions of struggles and injustices but also valuable information on local heroes and heroines, such as Nana Yaa Asantewaa and Queen Nanny, as well as customs that Europeans have misunderstood. After reading this book, readers will understand why Jamaica was actually (as the subtitle describes it) "the sharpest thorn in Britain's Caribbean Colonies." I recommend this book to all those who want to see the history of humanity from a new perspective.

Sheena Monnin

The Black History Truth: Jamaica by Pamela Gayle explores the history of Jamaica from its early days, through the time of foreign powers’ conquest, and up to the present day. Covering interesting topics including agriculture, tourism and its impact on the land and people, traditional foods, and the history of some of the names of cities and regions in Jamaica, the book provides a comprehensive look at many elements of the country. Intertwined with that part of its history, the author also reveals the history of some African tribes and how their history relates to the systematic enslavement of people who were then brought to Jamaica as a pass-through before being dispersed into America. Jamaica’s location made it a target for slave traders bringing people across the Atlantic, separating them, and then selling them - all under the most unthinkable, brutal, and dehumanizing circumstances. Today, Jamaica is still recovering and recreating its own identity apart from the British Empire and other influences that do not reflect the spirit or culture of its people.

Author Pamela Gayle organizes her content well in The Black History Truth: Jamaica. She moves through the history and cultural highlights and geographically important information that gives the reader a clear look at Jamaica. The combination of text and visual graphics is done well and helps the reader to see the things she is describing. She handles difficult topics with truth and clarity, revealing the endless atrocities endured by many different peoples, tribes, and families as well as those responsible for the atrocities. I appreciate the way the author highlights and showcases the many beautiful and magical parts of Jamaica and Jamaican culture.

K.C. Finn

The Black History Truth - Jamaica: The Sharpest Thorn in Britain's Caribbean Colonies is a work of non-fiction focusing on historical, cultural, and social issues. It is intended for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Pamela Gayle to be more representative of the accurate history of the real people of Jamaica, rather than the whitewashed Eurocentric history we have been forced toward in the 20th-century world of education. Exploring the time between the 16th and 19th centuries when Jamaica was a part of the British colonial empire, the work seeks to uncover racial injustices and celebrate the roots of the many different black cultures rising from Jamaica over the years.

Author Pamela Gayle has crafted a sensitive and deeply passionate work of historical non-fiction that seeks to right many wrongs in the world of history education, to highlight black struggles whilst also celebrating black culture and its triumph over intense adversity. Works like these make me deeply ashamed to be British, as well they should, and should continue to do so until we have accurate representation everywhere. The organization of the work, powerful and confident narrative voice, and inclusion of details on important questions such as crime and punishment, culture, belief systems, and historical contention are all marvelously handled and could be used as an example to future historians to model a better future. Overall, I would highly recommend The Black History Truth – Jamaica for any history enthusiast who is interested in exploring the world more authentically and seeing many different sides of the colonization.