On New Year’s Day 1791 a revolt began in Grand Bay and spread as far as Rosalie when slaves on the estates went on strike in demand of their freedom. It was led by a man called Polinaire, originally from Martinique, whose fight for the enslaved of Dominica was inspired by the ideas of the French Revolution. The dramatic story of the events of that day and the following weeks – ending in the execution of Polinaire and many others – is told in detail in the new edition of Lennox Honychurch’s book on the Maroons of Dominica.

Previously called “Negre Mawon” but now entitled “In the Forests of Freedom: the Fighting Maroons of Dominica”, the book has been described as “a definitive account” of Dominica’s Maroon history. Expanded and redesigned, the new edition is published by Papillote Press, a small publishing company based in Dominica and the UK. Dr Honychurch, historian and anthropologist, says: “I hope that this book helps to increase people’s awareness of this neglected aspect of Dominica’s rich heritage.”

“In the Forests of Freedom” has already garnered praise. A review in the UK’s respected Spectator magazine calls the book “valuable” and “lively” and comments that it “opens a window on a little known West Indian history”. Endorsements have also come from leading scholars: “The Maroons of Dominica have long been slighted in the history of slavery in the Caribbean,” writes Adam Hochschild, author of Bury the Chains, an acclaimed account of the  UK abolitionist movement. “The brave people who held out in Dominica’s mountain wilderness for generations against the military forces of two colonial empires have had their story well told at last.” Richard Price, the pre-eminent expert on marronage also praises Dr Honychurch’s book as “detailed and eminently readable…It will long stand as the definitive account of these Maroons whom the British considered, after those in Jamaica, the major menace to the plantation system. Dominica’s Maroons have finally found their chronicler.”

Publisher Polly Pattullo says: “I am delighted to be able to add “In the Forests of Freedom” to the titles about Dominica published by Papillote Press. Dr Honychurch brings together his exemplary research (over many decades) and communication skills in chronicling the key role played by the Maroons to Dominican – and Caribbean – history.”

“In the Forests of Freedom” is available in Dominica from Jay’s Bookstore in Roseau or direct from the publisher in Dominica (contact: info@papillotepress.co.uk or 295 1563) and also online.