Why has Haiti been plagued by so many woes? Why have multiple U.S. efforts to create a stable democracy in Haiti failed so spectacularly? Philippe Girard answers these and other questions, examining how colonialism and slavery have left a legacy of racial tension, both within Haiti and internationally; Haitians remain deeply suspicious of white foriegners' motives, many of whom doubt Hatians' ability to govern themselves. He also examines how Haiti's current political instability is merely a continuation of political strife that began during the War of Independence (1791-1804). Finally, Girard explores poverty's devastating impact on contemporary Haiti and argues that Haitians--particularly home-grown dictators--bear a big share of the responsibility for their nation's troubles.