During the 1980s, when the Dominican Republic was largely unheard of, Peter Lane taught there in a school run by one of the largest sugar producers in the world. The company was rich and powerful. It had its own private town with lavish facilities. It had diversified into tourism and built its own luxury resort catering to former US Presidents and the super rich. Outside life was different; in the barrios people existed without the most basic of amenities and in the countryside Haitian cane cutters worked under conditions condemned as akin to slavery. Further afield was the capital, with buildings going back to Columbus himself. In the highlands a mine, British staffed, produced gold at terrible ecological cost. On the coast shards of ancient pottery hinted at a pre-Columbian past. Dominican Days not only describes Peter's experiences but also sets them in the context of Dominican history. He writes about the island's discovery by Columbus and the relentless genocide of the native peoples. He shows how the country developed its distinctive ethnic mix in the centuries that followed, explains the historical animosity towards Haiti and the use of Haitian labour.
During the last century there were occupations by the USA, civil war and dictators. Trujillo ruled for over 30 years, massacred Haitians, fed his enemies to the sharks and made himself one of the three richest people in the world. Balaguer, still active in politics into his 90s, was associated with death squads and massive corruption. The last government was inept and corrupt. It wrecked the economy and brought allegations of drug running. Dominican Days is a revealing and personalised account of this beautiful but turbulent Caribbean country.