The title of this worthwhile volume is a metaphor. Haiti is a breached citadel. As acts of nature, sun, rain, wind and seasons erode the citadel of Haiti, so too is the country of Haiti being eroded by internationalist sentiment, eating away at her culture and way of life. What remains today of the citadel is a ruins probably beyond restoration. What remains of Haiti is a similar ruins.
Bellegarde-Smith, grandson of one of Haiti's most important writers, Dantes Bellegarde, and great, great grandson of Argentine Bellegarde, one of Haiti's important women leader's, loves this land he left, and writes her history with feeling and compassion.
A central thesis of the book is that the early structures of society and culture, established in the colonial period, dominate the structures that are modern Haiti. In the period of Henry Christophe, (1806-1820), Bellegarde-Smith argues that the building of the forts (including the Citadel itself) and the constant military preparation for the expected re-invasion of the French, set the pattern of general militarism which dominated life until the U.S. occupation of 1915-1934.