The French Revolution sent waves all the way across the Atlantic, dividing the colony's white population in 1791. The elites remained royalist, while the bourgeoisie embraced the revolutionary ideals. The slaves seized the moment and in the confusion rebelled en masse against their owners. The Haitian Slave Revolt had begun. When it ended in 1803, Saint Domingue had become Haiti, the first independent nation in the Caribbean.
C.L.R. James tells the story of the revolt and the events leading up to it in his masterpiece, The Black Jacobins. James's personal beliefs infuse his narrative: in his preface to a 1962 edition of the book, he asserts that , when written in 1938, it was "intended to stimulate the coming emancipation of Africa." James writes passionately about the horrific lives of the slaves and of the man who rose up and led them--a semiliterate slave named François-Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture. As James notes, however, "Toussaint did not make the revolution. It was the revolution that made Toussaint."
With its appendix, "From Toussaint L'Ouverture to Fidel Castro," The Black Jacobins provides an excellent window into the Haitian Revolution and the worldwide repercussions it caused. --Sunny Delaney
Great work describing the most successful war against great powers ever fought and won. Spartacus gets the movie for a two year rebellion. Read morePublished 5 months ago by John H. Armwood
Great book. Very powerful. The story was well put together from MANY sources.Published 6 months ago by EJ
CLR James opens his work Black Jacobins as follows, "In 1789 the French West Indian colony of San Domingo supplied two-thirds of the overseas trade of France and was the greatest... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Christopher Kelly
Great book about the history of the Haitian Revolution. Good read. Learned a lot about the French Revolution as well. Good incite to the rise of Toussaint.Published 7 months ago by Kervens Celestin