WE COME FROM
The National Movement – 1937-1962
Written by: EWART WALTERS
Available November 2013
A Stirring Account
We Come From Jamaica: The National Movement 1937-1962 examines the roots and trajectory of Jamaica’s political and cultural movement that blossomed in the wake of the labour unrest that swept across the Caribbean in the late 1930s. Broader in scope than the title suggests, this book provides more than a retrospective of the two and a half decades leading from Crown Colony to Independence. It also presents a useful historical overview of Jamaica, takes up issues with contemporary relevance, assesses what will shape the country’s future course, and sets out some bracing challenges as it moves forward. It is obvious from the book that Walters has spent considerable time thinking deeply and empirically about the National Movement.
What’s more, he has found a way to pull its multiple interconnected convoluted strands together and put them in a coherent package that is engaging and readily accessible to the reader. Walters serves up a concise and clear book that can be consumed in discrete chunks. Organized in a thematic quasi-encyclopaedic structure, this book leaves us with a good understanding of the National Movement and may be particularly useful as a reference and guide. For anyone with an appetite for nationalism, history, politics and culture of Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, this book is a treat not to be ignored. Best of all, We Come From Jamaica: The National Movement 1937-1962 will supply readers with the ingredients for a full-throated response should anyone ask, “What do you know about the National Movement?”
– Millicent Norman Byrne, MA (Spanish); linguist, public speaker and community activist, is the holder of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and a senior policy advisor in Canada’s public service.
Readers will very likely be asking themselves, why are we finding the reading so engaging? For many of them it will be because they are traversing territory that should have been wholly familiar to them, but they keep finding enlightening areas of new knowledge… Another answer will lie in the high quality of Walters’ narrative art, a key to which is his way of revisiting modules of his story to show its unfolding aspects. His stirring account…will delight readers who treasure effective writing. He comes to his task as a highly reputable journalist, with first-hand experience at the newspaper Public Opinion, one of the protagonists in the drama he has presented.
We find him now panning, now zooming in, now zooming out, capturing the ubiquitous and constant movement, the vibrancy of the country, of the people he portrays. He has found this fitting technique which is itself a symbol because of what comes through as his real motivation for writing this book: his enduring respect, his love, his wanting the best for the Jamaican people.
– Keith Ellis, PhD, Professor Emeritus (modern Languages) University of Toronto, Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, Nicolás Guillén Medal, Medal of Distinction for national culture, Cuba; Works: Including, First Poet of the Americas: José María Heredia (2010); José Martí, Free Verses (2010); Poetas del Caribe inglés (2009); Nicolás Guillén: A Bilingual Anthology (2004); Nueve escritores hispanoamericanos ante la opción de construir (2003).