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Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution Hardcover – March 29, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0674013049 ISBN-10: 0674013042

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press (March 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674013042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674013049
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[A] sinuous and stirring account of 'the largest slave revolt in the history of the world, and the only one that succeeded.' (John Leonard Harper's 2004-03-01)

In this exhaustively researched and valuable account, Laurent Dubois, a history professor at Michigan State, looks back to the founding of Haiti...Dubois, writing in an accessible style and with a wide-ranging focus, has done an impressive job depicting the tumultuous founding of Haiti. Readers wanting to place the Caribbean nation's current struggles in a larger historical context will find Dubois an eminently worthwhile resource. (Chuck Leddy Christian Science Monitor 2004-03-23)

A stern and brilliant new book...The Haitian Revolution, in all its ugliness and brutality, was the response of the oppressed, indentured and enslaved to their unjust condition. And it is this whirling and chaotic world that Dubois so vividly brings to life in Avengers of the New World and so accurately deconstructs...Dubois starts this book about war with chapters about love, death, books and graveyards. His discussions of interracial love affairs and the attitudes of slaves both toward death among slaves and toward death among masters are riveting and eloquent. Indeed, Dubois' literary sensibility informs the book from start to finish, so that at its beginning as well as its end, the reader feels as if the story must be fiction, yet it is not...Dubois calls Haiti a nation 'founded on ashes,' and he has written splendidly about the fires, both political and cultural, that lit up the land during the days of revolution and that are still, in a sense, burning today. (Amy Wilentz Los Angeles Times Book Review 2004-04-18)

Avengers of the New World weaves the experiences and stories of slaves, free Blacks, wealthy whites, and French administrators into an unforgettable tale of insurrection, war, heroism, and victory. Laurent Dubois examines the actions of the famous leaders of the revolt such as Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, but also of lesser-known men and women caught up in the violent and tumultuous events. Dubois establishes the Haitian Revolution, which is often misunderstood or forgotten, as a foundational moment in the history of democracy and of human rights...Avengers of the New World can help us put the current situation in Haiti in context, explain the reasons behind the violence, and give us an idea of what the future might hold. (Caribbean Life 2004-03-23)

Laurent Dubois's patient study offers a valuable glimpse into the complexities of the creation of modern Haiti that supplants the usual commonplaces on this 'first black republic.' (Nick Caistor Times Literary Supplement 2004-06-11)

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of books about the Haitian Revolution, but only a handful are indispensable. Avengers of the New World joins that select company. A powerful narrative informed by the latest research, it digs beneath ready-made notions--whether of purely heroic rebels or of implacable caste hatreds--to bring to light the forging of new identities and new ideals. (Robin Blackburn The Nation 2004-10-04)

This wonderfully readable account is a timely reminder of the perils and scarifices that marked Haiti's revolutionary path, resulting in only the second independent nation of this hemisphere. Dubois rightfully emphasizes the impact of French revolutionary principles (i.e., the Rights of Man) on the Haitian rebel slaves, as well as the inextricable influence of French politics on the fate of its Caribbean colony, highlighted by the power struggles between Napoleon and Louverture. The author's insights about the nature of solidarity, trust, and leadership among the slaves, as well as the organization of insurgents across the colony, are well worth recalling, especially in this fateful year. (R. M. Delson Choice 2004-11-01)

For those who wish to recall the dramatic events that led to the creation of the world's first black republic and the Western Hemisphere's second independent nation, I would strongly recommend Laurent Dubois's Avenger's of the New World...The story of Haitian independence is well known and has been told many times before, but Dubois's vigorous text brings the story to vibrant new life. The battles, personalities, and complex sociopolitical turmoil brought about in Haiti and elsewhere in the world, especially the slave-owning American South, are recalled with a depth and passion that makes this an invigorating work of historical writing. (Phil Hall New York Resident 2004-09-06)

Readers unfamiliar with the history of Haiti will find this thoughtful, gracefully written book an eye-opening account of the complexities of the Haitian revolution. (Milton Berman SalemPressOnline)

How well Dubois wears the mantle of this exciting area of study. His engaging analysis of the social forces at play in Saint Domingue (now Haiti) at the turn of the nineteenth century reveals this conflict to be of wider significance than we may previously have thought...Dubois's masterful grasp of the "contorted human relationships" that define the period renders his study infinitely relevant to our global society...With his help, we may yet come to understand the far-reaching impact of this amazing revolution and the true meaning of Haiti's beloved motto: L'Union fait la force. (Patti M. Marxsen French Review)

In Avengers of the New World, Laurent Dubois has crafted a nuanced yet highly readable narrative of the Haitian Revolution...It is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the revolutionary Atlantic World. Readers new to the Haitian Revolution will especially benefit from Dubois's lucid explanation of an enormously complex period. (Yvonne Fabella New West Indian Guide)

Review

What Laurent Dubois has achieved is a synthesis of the most current research in a strikingly accessible and appealing presentation, be it to experts or to general readers unfamiliar with the subject. Avengers of the New World is more than likely to become the new standard work in English on one of the most under-reported events in the history of the Western Hemisphere. (Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls Rising and Master of the Crossroads)

More About the Author

Laurent Dubois, a specialist in the history and culture of France and the Caribbean, is Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University and Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies as well as co-director, with Deborah Jenson, of the Haiti laboratory of the Franklin Humanities Institute. He is the author of Avengers of the New World (Harvard University Press, 2004) and A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804 (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), which won four book prizes, including the Frederick Douglass Prize. His most recent book is Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France (University of California Press, 2010). He has also published two collections: Origins of the Black Atlantic, edited with Julius Scott (Routledge Press, 2009) and Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A History in Documents, edited with John Garrigus (Bedford Press, 2006). His most recent book is Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (Metropolitan Books, 2012), which was reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review as well as in the Miami Herald, the Boston Globe, and the New Yorker. He is currently writing a history of the banjo (under contract with Harvard University Press), for which he received a National Humanities Center Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. With Richard Turits, he is also currently working a history of the Caribbean. He was the head historical consultant for the recent PBS documentary on the Haitian Revolution, Egalité for All, and the co-chair of the scholars committee for a New York Historical Society exhibition entitled Revolutions, which will open in November 2011. He recently received a Mellon New Directions Fellowship to study Ethnomusicology.

For more information visit http://duboisl2.wordpress.com/

Customer Reviews

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This book was a true pleasure to read.
Eric
Their feelings are still hurt that a bunch of African slaves defeated the most powerful army at that time - Napoleon's army.
Big Sistah Patty
A very well written narrative of the Haitian Revolution.
R. Albin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Dennis R. Hidalgo on May 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It was about time that a book like this would appear. In this book Dubois masterfully walked a fine line between several traditional approaches to the Haitian Revolution. While avoiding the extremes of old racists' historians that have blamed slaves for bringing chaos to the island of Hispaniola, he also avoids the hero-making excess of CLR James. Dubois also appropriated lots from Carolyn E. Fick's valuable approach of the revolution from below while still on the sobering side of David P. Geggus.

With the exception of James', there is no work on the Haitian Revolution that is more readable and engaging than this book. Dubois' prose is crisp and vivid-the perfect writing for such a colorful story. The book is not short. But each chapter is full with interesting stories that you can hardly notice you are reading a scholarly history book.

However, there are three issues you should be aware of while reading it. Probably due to the large amount of information and the inclusion of many little stories, the reader can easily lose track of the chronology. So, having besides you a chronology of the events can help you follow each one without problems. Also, because of the scholarly practice of the use of evidence, Dubois habit of story-telling, and his efforts to avoid being judgmental, at first impression the reader may feel that the author is siding with evil. But Dubois evaluation is subtle, and yet very powerful and accurate. And finally, a few typos, responsibilities of the publishing house and not of the author, should not affect the reader's enjoyment of a good and important reading.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
A very well written narrative of the Haitian Revolution. As Dubois points out, this was the only successful slave revolt in human history, with its success brought about by a unique convergence of turmoil in Haiti and the collapse of the French government associated with French Revolution. While Dubois focuses on events in Haiti, he does very in relating the relevant developments in French politics crucial to understanding events in Haiti. Dubois starts by describing the complex situation in Haiti on the eve of the revolution. The most productive colony of the French empire, the population of Haiti was dominated by slaves, most recently or relatively recently arrived from Africa. In addition to the small white planter class, Haiti also contained small by significant populations of free blacks, mixed raced people of color, some of them affluent plantation owners and merchants, and landless whites. In the second half of the 18th century, increasing hardening of social and racial barriers and efforts of the French government to extend control produced significant strains in Haiti. At the same time, the penetration of Enlightenment ideas of rights provided an intellectual framework for alternative ways to organize society. The collapse of the French government and the French Revolution with its attachment to relatively radical ideas of human rights and equality produced an opportunity for groups within Haiti to take control of the colony. White plantars struggled to impose their own oligarchy on the island, free people of color struggled to achieve social and political equality, and the slaves would seize the opportunity to overturn any form of the existing order.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bill on February 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Solid scholarship, but don't buy the Kindle Edition. It is a disaster. Several maps are missing. The first page of each chapter is reproduced as a graphic--and a very poor low resolution one at that. Endnotes are not hyper-linked, and there are no page numbers. This is one of those rare occassions when if you prefer ebooks to paper that you would be much better off acquiring the Google ebook. While it doesn't have hyperlinked notes, it does at least contain high resolution graphics and excellent reproduction of some of the maps missing from the Kindle edition.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John L. Hennessey on May 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book definitely deserves the prestigious prize it won. It masterfully blends detailed research with a superb writing style that made it a pleasure to read. I would recommend it both to someone who wanted to learn about the Haitian Revolution for the first time and to experts who wanted to compare different historiographical interpretations.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eric on March 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was a true pleasure to read. DuBois is the kind of historian who deserves to be teaching high school students (I mean this as a compliment) because while makes sure to include all relevant details about the Haitain revolution, he makes this book read like a fascinating story. This is a wonderful and well developed book, suitable for both laymen and scholars.

I am pleased that DuBois kept his editorializing to a minimum and described the events of the Haitian revolution in a very much nuanced manner. I recommend this this book to anyone looking for a detailed, but surprisingly easy to read discussion of that famous "first successful slave rebellion."
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Haiti lover on October 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the best one-volume history of the Haitian Revolution in English (previous ones, by Thomas Ott and CLR James, are getting old). It is generally well written and up to date. One problem is that chapters often start with little vignettes then go back in time, which can be confusing (the revolution was confusing enough as it was!). And the author hasn't made much primary research in comparison with his previous work on Guadeloupe (A Colony of Citizens).
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