Take My Word for It
Professor Mervyn Morris, Jamaica’s Poet Laureate writes: 'Ralph Thompson’s luminous autobiography is a fascinating portrait. A witty businessman and poet who studied in the United States and served as an Air Force lawyer in Japan, he writes vividly about family and his Jamaican formation, changes in racial climate, vicissitudes in business and public service; about painting, poetry, love and betrayals. Critical and self-critical, he is a man of conscience trying to understand.'
Ralph Thompson
ISBN number
Country setting
Publication date
04 Jul 2016

Take My Word For It offers rich insights into the long and full life of one of one of Jamaica's finest poets who has also been at the heart of the island's economic and commercial development. There are moving and sometimes comic chapters of a pre-war boyhood in colonial Jamaica in a far from prosperous white and Catholic Jamaican family, the years spent at the Jesuit college of Fordham in the USA, and postwar service in the United States Airforce, serving in Japan. Thereafter Ralph Thompson tells the story of a life at the heart of Jamaica's development of tourism, capitalist modernity and the leadership of Seprod, one of the island's largest companies. There are fascinating glimpses of involvement with Jamaica's sharply divided political life -- between Michael Manley and Edward Seaga. But along with the businessman who can convey something of the excitement of commercial strategy and take-over bids, there is also the artist and poet who has explored the inner life, not least the position of a white man in a Jamaica whose decolonisation has been in part about discovering its black identity. Ralph Thompson has long had a passionate concern with the quality of the education on offer to all Jamaicans, and he writes with feeling about his contribution to the debate around educational issues and practical attempts to make improvements. There is also the loyal supporter of Derek Walcott's Trinidad Theatre Workshop who did much to bring that theatre to wider Caribbean and American notice, who writes about his friendship with Walcott with warmth and insight.

Amply illustrated with photographs, images of Thompson's paintings and extracts from his poetry, Take My Word For It is a beautifully and frankly written record of a significant Jamaican life.

Contains 19 illustrations/photographs, 12 in full colour.




Ralph Thompson

Ralph Thompson was born in America in 1928. His family on his mother’s side goes back three generations in Jamaica, a mixture of crypto Jewish (Isaacs) and Irish stock (Fielding). It was staunchly Catholic and claimed to be white. His mother’s marriage lasted only three years and she returned to Jamaica and brought up her two children aided and abetted by a household of intellectually brilliant but poor and highly eccentric aunts and uncles.
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