Jamaica Magazine

Rude Boy: Once Upon a Time in Jamaica – Book Review

About the Book

Chris Salewicz first visited Jamaica in 1978. It was a life-changing experience, and over the next twenty years he was to return many times. The Island of Springs’ has a population of only 3 million but an impact on the world that far outweighs its size: from Bob Marley and reggae; through Obeah, voodoo and Rastafarianism; to, of course, ganja. Then there is piracy and slavery; political civil war; death squads or badmen’, and Yardie’ organised crime. In 1995 the house Chris was staying in was attacked by machete-wielding badmen’, a terrifying sequence of events that gives the book its structure. Part travelogue, part history, part memoir, Rude Boy gives us the complete Jamaican experience: the fear, the violence, the drugs, but also the beauty.

Ask me if I’ve ever been to Jamaica and after reading this book I would absentmindedly say ‘Yes’ as ‘Rude Boy’ has sunk into my brain as experience rather than imagination. Salewicz cuts between piracy and politics, music and machete wielding mad men, religion and dancehall queens. He looks at the complexities of Jamaican culture (often through a haze of smoke)with a mixture of respect, admiration and complete bafflement. Most importantly he loves every moment of it, and so will you. Whether you buy the book for the bad boy tales, rasta reasonings, grinding gals, or a serious musical and cultural history 261 pages is just not long enough! – AC

Where to buy the book:
The book can be bought on Amazon.com

About the Author
CHRIS SALEWICZ’s writing on music and popular culture has appeared in publications around the globe. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer (Faber, 2007).

About the author

Staff Writer