Page 26. " a case of Pott's disease "
Pott's Disease in an Egyptian mummy
Public DomainPott's disease in an Egyptian mummy

Tuberculosis of the spine is known as Pott's disease. Hips and knees are also often impacted by this disease. Pott's disease is usually caused when tuberculosis spreads from other areas of the body. It progresses slowly, often causing lower back pain, swelling, and paralysis.

Page 31. " Farmer had lost a baby to meningitis "

Meningitis is the "swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord." Common symptoms include fever and chills, changes in mental states, nausea, light sensitivity, headaches, and a stiff neck. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for bacterial meningitis, but these antibiotics don't work for viral meningitis. If bacterial meningitis -- the more serious of the two -- is left untreated, it can result in brain damage or death.

Page 33. " Farmer said he'd be my Virgil here "
The Barque of Dante
Public DomainThe Barque of Dante - Credit: Eugène Delacroix

Virgil was a Roman poet who wrote the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the Aeneid.

In Dante's Divine Comedy, Virgil guides Dante through Heaven, Purgatory and Hell.  Most famously, he shows him the nine circles of suffering, to which Farmer may be comparing Haiti here.



Page 34. " that he called 'structural violence' "

Structural violence is a term developed in the 1960s to talk about a kind of violence connected to the ways that a social structure or institutional slowly kills citizens by not meeting their basic needs.

Page 37. " It's called the Péligre Dam "
Lake Péligre
Public DomainLake Péligre

The Péligre Dam stops Haiti's largest river, the Artibonite River. It was completed in 1956, and created Lake Péligre, the country's second largest lake. It was designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It has badly hurt the poor residents of the Central Plateau.


Google Map
Page 48. " they gave him a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy 'The Lord of the Rings' "

The Lord of the Rings trilogy takes place in the fictional world of Middle-Earth. A young hobbit named Frodo Baggins is charged with destroying the One Ring, an object powerful enough to enslave all of Middle-Earth. 

The Lord of the Rings on Book Drum

Tolkien was a language expert from Oxford University. His series is considered the father of modern fantasy.

The trailer for the 2001 movie of The Fellowship of the Ring:


Page 48. " handed him a copy of War and Peace "

War and Peace is a major Russian novel by author Leo Tolstoy. The novel covers the period leading up to Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and the impact of the invasion on Russian society.