Essay Writer


Souvenirs d'Autrefois

Port-au-Prince: Presses Nationales D'Haiti, 1968

8vo, pp. 123. Original red boards, lettered in gilt to spine. Printed dustwrapper. French text. Top edge a little browned and mottled, but a near fine copy in a near fine dustwrapper with the very lightest of edgewear.

First edition, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR, THE DICTATOR FRANCOIS 'PAPA DOC' DUVALIER, TO ALAN WHICKER: 'To the friend of the first Black Republic, Mr Alan Whicker. In souvenir [sic] of his short stay in the Island of Chusqueya. Sincerely Dr. François Duvalier, December 1968'. (Chusqueya is a type of bamboo indigenous to Haiti.) French text.

François 'Papa Doc' Duvalier, President and dictator of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971, granted access to the travel writer and TV journalist Alan Whicker in 1968 for an episode of the show Whicker's World, made for Yorkshire Television. In the programme Whicker interviews Duvalier in his palace in Port-au-Prince, and travels with him in his presidential car while he moves among the people he terrorised, tortured and murdered for the fourteen years of his rule. This book -- 50% memoir, 50% philosophy, 100% demented -- was presented to Whicker by the dictator as a souvenir of his visit. As if he was ever likely to forget.

A scarce book, commendably unread, and with an association that's going to be hard to top.

Keywords: François DUVALIER Alan WHICKER"


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