Barcott, Bruce. The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird. Random House, 2008. Fantastic nonfiction narrative about the Chalillo Dam in western Belize, a highly contentious construction project on the upper Macal River in Cayo. The author skillfully lays out the story and characters around the dam business, while providing a sweeping panoramic snapshot of a very unique country as it makes its debut in the new global economy.
Bolland, O. Nigel. Belize: A New Nation in Central America. Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1986. This book is one of many socio-political analyses by this prolific author.
Duffy, Rosaleen. A Trip Too Far: Ecotourism, Politics and Exploitation. Earthscan, 2002. A critical look at the impacts of ecotourism, using Belize as a case study.
Fry, Joan. How to Cook a Tapir: A Memoir of Belize. University of Nebraska Press, 2009. The story of a young teacher’s year abroad, living among the Maya in southern Belize in 1962. The author offers an intimate glimpse at Maya village life in this heartfelt, oftentimes funny story of how she “painstakingly baked and boiled her way up the food chain” to gain acceptance among her neighbors and students.
Jovaisa, Marius. Heavenly Belize. Lithuania: Unseen Pictures, 2009 (www.heavenlybelize.com). This is a magnificent coffee table tome of aerial photography. The Lithuanian author is an ultra-light aircraft pilot who wanted to share the extraordinary vistas he had discovered. If you don’t pick it up in Belize, download the iPad version from iTunes, with more multimedia features than just the book.
Pattullo, Polly. Last Resorts: The Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean, 2nd edition. London: Latin America Bureau, 2005. Pattullo provides an interesting breakdown of how the Caribbean tourism industry is structured, as well as a hard-hitting commentary on who benefits and how, providing numerous examples from Belize.
Rabinowitz, Alan. Jaguar: One Man’s Struggle to Establish the World’s First Jaguar Preserve. Washington, D.C.: Island Press/Shearwater Books, 2000 (originally 1986). If you’ve only got time to read one book on Belize, I recommend this excellent eco-memoir. In addition to telling the true story of his jaguar work in Belize, Rabinowitz gives an alluring glance at Belize’s wild post-independence, pre-tourism phase.
Shoman, Assad. 13 Chapters of a History of Belize. Belize City: Angelus Press, Ltd., 1994. A no-nonsense history of Belize from a Belizean perspective.
Sutherland, Anne. The Making of Belize: Globalization in the Margins. London: Bergin & Garvey Paperback, 1998. The British Bulletin of Publications calls this “an enjoyable mixture of academic research, anecdotal insights and strong, even controversial opinion. This book deserves to be read by any visitor to Belize, whether arriving as a tourist or as a volunteer with one of the many international conservation organizations now operating there.”
Wilk, Richard. Home Cooking in the Global Village: Caribbean Food from Buccaneers to Ecotourists. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Useing food to describe Belize’s longtime struggle within “the great paradox of globalization,” Wilk raises questions like “How can you stay local and relish your own home cooking, while tasting the delights of the global marketplace?” Includes menus, recipes, and “bad colonial poetry.”
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition