Kingston wrestles with the enduring legacy of colonial rags and riches, recent episodes of political strife and the occasional outburst of modern-day turf rivalry. Formerly the hub of Britain's Caribbean Empire, the Jamaican capital provides an intriguing cauldron of political, social, and cultural excitement as one of the region's great cities.
The dangerous domain of local Dons forms but a small part of Kingston's complex and vital presence, which extends far beyond the city's tenement yards and harbor walls. Proud of their city's rewn as the birthplace of reggae and dancehall, Kingstonians have led the world in invative music and performance art. The bristling edge of everyday life has proven fertile ground for a profusion of literary and cultural wealth -- poets, writers, musicians, and artists flow from the creative reservoirs of this rough-and-ready, savvy cityscape.
The resonance of Kingston's colonial history is more than matched by the vibrancy of the contemporary urban scene. David Howard charts a course through the city's offerings, from the stark divisions between uptown modernity and downtown's swashbuckling past, to the lively interweaving of local legends and international popular culture.
-- The city of pirates and colonial power: the wickedest city in Christendom and an almighty earthquake; buccaneers and admirals; bustling port tales and architectural treasures.
-- The city of streetlife: tenement yards and markets; political garrisons and off-limits areas; higglers and Carnival; the divided world of suburbs and ghettos.
-- The city of urban beat: musical maestros, dancehall queens, and performance poets; yard fiction, sculpture, and painting.