Book Review: Pieces of the Past – A Stroll Down Jamaica’s Memory Lane

There is an old Jamaican saying ‘every mickle mek a muckle’. It means every experience – no matter how small – counts, because together they form a greater whole. There is another old Jamaican saying: ‘one one cocoa full basket’ which means that parts of things slowly combined make a whole. Pieces of the Past: A Stroll Down Jamaica’s Memory Lane is as much as combination of both meanings as it is an exploration of a deep-rooted interest in Jamaica’s rich history and culture.

As the title suggests, the stories included in this volume are but pieces of Jamaica’s very rich past. Since all the defining moments of Jamaican history and culture could not be covered, the book brings together interesting people and events from the nation’s past to the general public. Stories range from the strictly historical, such as the founding of the nation’s two political parties, to reminiscences of service in World War II, to the exploration of place names and proverbs.

The Book is divided into eight sections, namely: Places, People; Cultural Heritage; A Nation Emerges; Trials; Natural and Manmade; Jamaicans Who Served; Famous Visitors; and Things Jamaican. Pieces of the Past is written in a clear and accessible style and is must for lovers of Jamaican history, and anyone interested in the culture and heritage of the island.


This book opens your eyes to things you never knew about Jamaica. It is a welcome move to broadening the horizons of the Jamaican people and deepening their understanding of their own history. – The Most Hon. Edward Seaga, Former Prime Minister of Jamaica


Rebecca Tortello holds a PhD in comparative education and sociology from Teachers College, Columbia University. A former classroom teacher, Rebecca is also the author of a Children’s picture book called Nancy and Grandy Nanny (2001). She is Special Advisor in the Ministry of Education, Jamaica.