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Caribbean Journal of Education

A History of Modern Trinidad 1783-1962 ,Bridget Brereton, Heinemann, 1981, 262 pp.

Publication Date: 
April 1986

Since 1981 this book has admirably filled the need of researchers and the public at large for a general history of Trinidad (and Tobago). Prior to its publication the main text which served a similar purpose was Eric Williams' History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago (1962), the necessary testament of a Prime Minister/historian on the eve of his country's independence. Brereton has written a superior work, with less passion and more objectivity, less haste and more accuracy, less imbalance in the treatment of historical periods and more successful organisation. It is not surprising that A History of Modern Trinidad 1783-1962 has largely replaced A History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago among school children and the general public. Yet some of the demons in Williams' book, for example the Crown colony government and the sugar plantation system, are also the black sheep in Brereton's; and the chosen people for Williams, are the friends of Brereton. The book then is worthy fare for secondary school children of an independent, multi-racial nation, and it is written in plain straightforward English.

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