The University of Mississippi Press has purchased the United States rights to the most recent book by Dominican author Dr. Lennox Honychurch. The book, entitled, In the Forests of Freedom: The fighting Maroons of Dominica, has already been published in the United Kingdom where it has received praise from prominent magazines and journals that link it to the maroons of Jamaica.
The leading history journal in the UK, History Today, has hailed it as a “vivid account that features the freedom saga of smaller but equally rugged Dominica; Honychurch stresses Dominica’s extraordinary impact on British imperial slavery. This entrancing island narrative illumines wider issues of race and power, rule and resistance, slavery and freedom.”
Meanwhile, the Spectator magazine review stated that “In his lively history of Dominica Marronage, Honychurch chronicles the island’s Maroon Wars of 1785 to 1814 … In the Forests of Freedom opens a window onto a little-known West Indian history.”
Oxford Academic History Workshop Journal praises “a Caribbean historian committed to continuing to tell the story of his homeland and its place in the world. The rest of us should be profoundly grateful for that commitment as well as for the scholarship that accompanies it.”
Based on these and other recommendations, two US universities became interested. The University of Georgia also bid for the rights, but Mississippi won out.
The book, which was first published locally in 2014, gives an account of the enslaved West Africans who escaped from neighbouring islands and plantations along the coast of Dominica and retreated into the mountainous interior, forming camps under the leadership of chiefs such as Balla, Congo Ray, Pharcel, Noel and Quashie, to fight for the liberation of their people.
Anthropologist and historian Honychurch explained that the main reason for producing the book was that Jamaica is usually highlighted as the centre of maroon activity in the Caribbean but the equally dynamic leadership and events in Dominica have been largely ignored. He hopes to correct this oversight in international academia and put the Dominica experience on centre stage.
University of Mississippi online catalogue has described the book as “The untold story of escaped slaves, their battle against colonial overlords, and the lasting impact in the Caribbean”. http://www.upress.state.ms.us/search/books_by_author/2396
The author has dedicated the book to the memory of his late father, Ted Honychurch, who was kidnapped, murdered and burned in the forest after the family home was destroyed by fire during political instability in 1981.
In the Forests of Freedom is also available at Jays Bookstore, Roseau, and Amazon.com