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Reviews - What do customers think about The Iron Thorn: The Defeat of the British by the Jamaican Maroons?
A Well written History of the Jamaican Maroons May 18, 2003
Carey Robinson's "The Iron Thorn" is a well-written, well-researched history of the Maroons of Jamaica. Robinson starts with the Spanish Colonization of the island in 1509 and discusses the relatively light bondage of the African slaves during Spanish colonial rule. He then describes the English invasion in 1655 and the desperate struggle for the island by the united forces of the Spanish and their now freed African slaves.
The author brings to life the development of the escaped Spanish slaves into the fighting Maroons. We see these men and women warriors hiding out in the cockpit jungle, establishing and defending their towns against the British Army. As Robinson describes it, we cannot help but admire these men and women fighting for their freedom and often winning against a superior force.
Robinson recounts the struggle of the British governors in dealing with the Maroon problem, while hampered by a demoralized army, runaway slaves, discontent, unreliable indentured servants, and deserting soldiers.
The author introduces us to the great Maroon chiefs: the commanding Cudjoe, Quao the mighty hunter, the magnificent Smith, and the mysterious Nanny, Queen and motivator of the Maroons. Robinson takes us into the settlements and towns of these freedom fighters and allows us to witness the battles to keep them. Robinson explains the decisions of each chief and illustrates how each plan led to defeat or victory.
Although, the focus of this book is the Maroons, the author also presents us with a history of Jamaica from the fifteen hundreds until the late eighteen hundreds. He explores the motives and fears of the British governors and planters as they strove to create a society free of rebellious slaves and frequent Maroon attacks. In the Epilogue, Robinson also takes a brief look at the modern Maroons and the legacy they have given Jamaica.
I found this book very interesting. The narrative did become dry at times, especially when the author felt compelled to describe in detail the arms, ammunition, and provisions it took to fight various battles. However, other parts of the book, such as the descriptions of the actual battles, the myths and legends surrounding these warriors, I found fascinating.
This book will hold the attention of both people interested in Jamaican or Caribbean history and those interested in the birth of a culture. The Maroons of Jamaica still exist although in lesser numbers than they once did. They dwell in peace in their historical towns and as part of the regular population of the country. Their undefeatable spirit and quest for freedom still exists in all Jamaicans.