Books by Odeen Ishmael

| Contact us | E-mail Directory | Speeches

Last updated December 2015

About the Author
Born in Guyana, Dr. Odeen Ishmael served as a teacher both in Guyana and The Bahamas for almost three decades. He has been a premier writer on the problems and perspectives of education in Guyana and the Caribbean and, since 1970, his writings on this subject have been published in newspapers and journals in Guyana, the Caribbean and North America. He has also researched and published expensively on issues of Guyana's political history.

Before publishing "Amerindian Legends of Guyana", he wrote two books on education -- "Problems of the Transition of Education in the Third World" (published in 1990) and "Towards Education Reform in Guyana" (published in 1994). An Internet edition of a fourth book, "The Trail of Diplomacy", was released on the World Wide Web in 1998. Biography of Ambassador Odeen Ishmael.

The Trail of Diplomacy - Available Online - Xlibris - Amazon

“The Trail of Diplomacy: The Guyana-Venezuela Border Issue,” the first volume of a three-part documentary of the Guyana-Venezuela border issue, gives a general overview of the early history of the colonization of the Essequibo region forming the large western part of Guyana. It presents the background to the origin of the territorial dispute which developed from 1840 and examines the opposing views of proposed boundary lines and the long trail of diplomatic exchanges between Venezuela and Great Britain. It concludes with the involvement of the United States in support of Venezuela, eventually leading to the international arbitration for a “full, perfect, and final settlement” and the arbitral award which delineated the territorial boundary in 1899. Press Release

The Trail of Diplomacy * by Odeen Ishmael
The Guyana-Venezuela Border Issue
Publication Date: December 6, 2013
Trade Paperback; 435 pages; 978-1-4931-2654-5
Trade Hardback; 435 pages; 978-1-4931-2655-2
e-book; 978-1-4931-2656-9

Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary paperback copy by contacting the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. For more information on self-publishing or marketing with Xlibris, visit To receive a free publishing guide, please call (888) 795-4274

The Guyana Story – From Earliest Times to Independence by Odeen Ishmael

The Guyana Story is a collection of short essays which attempt to relate the story of the Guyanese people in a generally chronological order. It is obvious that not all the details of the periods described are included, but the aim of the author is to build an awareness among young Guyanese in particular, of the rich heritage of the people of Guyana. It is hoped, too, that The Guyana Story will encourage readers to do further research into various aspects of Guyanese history. By knowing about our past, we will be in a better position to understand and appreciate the present.

Available Online
Xlibris - Amazon

Guyana Legends—Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians - By Odeen Ishmael
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Trade Paperback; 212 pages; 978-1-4653-5668-0
Trade Hardback; 212 pages; 978-1-4653-5669-7
eBook; 978-1-4653-5670-3
Press Release

Guyana Legends—Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians is a collection of fifty folk tales of the first people to inhabit Guyana and the contiguous regions of the north coast of the South American continent.

Very little is known of Amerindian history in Guyana before the arrival of European settlers in the early seventeenth century and, actually, no written form of their languages existed until about seventy years ago.

Indeed, much of the history of the Amerindians people is based on oral traditions which are not quite clear because the periods when important events occurred are difficult to place. Still, native oral traditions are very rich in folk stories of the ancestral heroes and heroines of these indigenous people. Some of these folk stories have varying versions among the nine different language groups—or tribes— that comprise the Amerindian population of Guyana.

THE MAGIC POT: Nansi Stories From The Caribbean
170 pages
Publisher: Xlibris, Corp. (July 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1453539034
ISBN-13: 978-1453539033

Author Odeen Ishmael reveals engaging tales of Caribbean culture through the pages of THE MAGIC POT: Nansi Stories From The Caribbean.

This book comprises a collection of popular folk stories from Guyana and other countries of the Caribbean region. The starring character in all of them is Nansi whose exploits form part of the folklore of these countries. “Nansi”, the starring character in all the stories, is also popularly known as “Anansi”. But in Guyana and some other Caribbean countries, Nansi, the shortened form of this name, is usually preferred.

Nansi, who is a spider—but who sometimes takes the qualities or form of a man, or even half-man and half-spider—is originally the chief trickster among the Ashanti and Akan peoples of West Africa. When some of these peoples were forcibly brought to the Caribbean and the American continent as slaves from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, they also brought with them the tales of the exploits of Nansi, who was, and still is, variably regarded as a folk hero, a cunning trickster and also sometimes as a fool.

These stories in this book are no different to the ones told in West Africa or other parts of the Caribbean and the southeast United States, even though the plots and the characters involved may vary slightly. They certainly provide tangible evidence that much of the oral traditions of people of African origin in the Americas remain intact, despite the historical trauma caused by centuries of slavery.

Nansi is always outwitting the forest creatures, humans, his own family, the community in which he lives, and sometimes even deities. His character assumes various patterns. In some cases, he is regarded as wise, but he can be greedy, cunning, gluttonous, stupid, and dishonest. Despite these varying characteristics, Nansi is generally admired for the manner in which he outwits others.

Online at

Ishmael, Odeen. Amerindian Legends of Guyana.
Artex Publishing, Sheboygan WI, 1995.

(ISBN-0-930401-87-5) Paperback -- 101 pages.


Amerindian Legends of Guyana is a collection of twenty stories of the Amerindians, the first people to inhabit the South American country of Guyana. These stories tell of the deeds of folk heroes and give the reader a clear understanding of some of the myths, traditions and folklore surrounding the lives of these proud people.

The Amerindians comprise roughly five percent of the Guyanese population and they live mainly in the forest and savannah regions of the interior of the country.

The author has written extensively on Guyanese and Caribbean history and culture. He is currently Guyana's Ambassador to the United States of America and also his country's Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, positions to which he was appointed since 1993.




Ishmael, Odeen. The Democracy Perspective in the Americas
Publisher: University Press of America (January 16, 2010)
Paperback: 280 pages

The Democracy Perspective in the Americas presents the author's views on the evolution of democracy in the American hemisphere and the challenges confronting this form of governance. It comprises a collection of his statements and published commentaries on the perspective of democracy from 1993 to 2008, while serving as Guyana's Ambassador to the United States at the Organization of American States (OAS) and in Venezuela.

At the OAS, in particular, Ishmael was deeply involved in diplomatic discussions, in which he presented his perspective of the promotion and development of the democratic process at forums dealing with the organization's agenda.

Since 2004, Ishmael has participated in numerous high-level meetings of the newly-established Union of South American Nations, enabling him to present a front-row view of the political, economic, social, and ideological challenges facing the advance of democracy and the integration of the South American nations. University Press of America

Available at Barnes and Noble

This page is part of Guyana News and Information.