The classic work on the history and beliefs of the Rastafarians, whose roots of protest go back to the seventeenth-century maroon societies of escaped slaves in Jamaica. Based on an extensive study of the Rastafarians, their history, their ideology, and their influence in Jamaica, The Rastafarians is an important contribution to the sociology of religion and to our knowledge of the variety of religious expressions that have grown up during the West African Diaspora in the Western Hemisphere.
Removes the aura of bizarre mystery from the Jamaican messianic movement whose members smoke marijuana for ritual purposes and believe that Ethiopia is the Promised Land for all blacks. Setting the Rastafarians in the context of . . . colonial exploitation, Barrett shows how the cult has been nourished on grinding poverty, examines its belief system, dynamics, rituals, art and music, and its 'ambivalent routinization' within Jamaican society. . . . Students of religion and sociology, fans of reggae music, and the general reader will gain much from this unusual study. --Publishers Weekly
"The most thorough, careful consideration of the Rasta phenomenon available to the general reader." --Boston Phoenix
"Barrett's account is authoritative and original; it is a work for the serious student of culture, religious sects and Caribbean studies. . . . An important contribution." --Folklore Review
"Leonard Barrett's The Rastafarians stands as the most solid, complete treatment available in this country to date." --New Age