The Black Jacobins

The Black Jacobins

Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution

Book - 1963
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A classic and impassioned account of the first revolution in the Third World.

This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for the Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba. It is the story of the French colony of San Domingo, a place where the brutality of master toward slave was commonplace and ingeniously refined. And it is the story of a barely literate slave named Toussaint L'Ouverture, who led the black people of San Domingo in a successful struggle against successive invasions by overwhelming French, Spanish, and English forces and in the process helped form the first independent nation in the Caribbean.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, [1963]
Edition: Second edition, revised
ISBN: 9780679724674
Description: xi, 426 pages : map ; 19 cm


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oldhag Jan 03, 2012

"...where Haiti went wrong...". I think the issue is not what Haiti did or did not do, I think it's what was done to Haiti by France and the United States.

See the book review of "The Aftershocks of History" by Laurent Dubois in New York Times, 12/29/11.

RickUWS Dec 30, 2011

A fascinating account of the Haitian slave revolt by a Marxist historian. Some parts of it read like a mediocre translation from French, which it apparently is not.

I had never even given any thought to the fact that the French Revolution happened in the colonies, too. The prose is typically dense and difficult to read, with repeated names that don't matter to anybody who is interested in a general view.

There is always that paranoid Marxist propensity to excuse the players for possible accusations.
From a modern perspective you do have to wonder where Haiti went wrong, since before the revolution it was the most successful and important colony in the world. The story seems to be the triumph of the Mulattoes (author's capitalization) to the eternal detriment of the Negroes. The most dismaying feature is the hagiography of Toussaint that turns suddenly to disdain. The reader wishes for an accurate description of this giant of a man.


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