The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1989 - History - 464 pages
A powerful and impassioned historical account of the largest successful revolt by enslaved people in history: the Haitian Revolution of 1791–1803

“One of the seminal texts about the history of slavery and abolition.... Provocative and empowering.” —The New York Times Book Review

The Black Jacobins, by Trinidadian historian C. L. R. James, was the first major analysis of the uprising that began in the wake of the storming of the Bastille in France and became the model for liberation movements from Africa to Cuba. It is the story of the French colony of San Domingo, a place where the brutality of plantation owners toward enslaved people was horrifyingly severe.

And it is the story of a charismatic and barely literate enslaved person named Toussaint L’Ouverture, who successfully led the Black people of San Domingo against successive invasions by overwhelming French, Spanish, and English forces—and in the process helped form the first independent post-colonial nation in the Caribbean.

With a new introduction (2023) by Professor David Scott.

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The Property
The Owners
Parliament and Property

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About the author (1989)

C. L. R. JAMES (1901-1989) was a Trinidadian-born historian, literary critic, and philosopher, and a leader of the pan-African movement. A prodigious and eclectic intellectual, he debated Marcus Garvey in England, confronted Trotsky in Mexico, and influenced leaders of African revolutions including Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. He is perhaps best remembered for his 1938 masterwork, The Black Jacobins, the first major analysis of the Haitian Revolution in the context of the French Revolution. In addition to his works of history and his political activism, he was known for sports writing, playwriting, and fiction; his novel Minty Alley, written in 1927, was the first by a Black person from the West Indies to be published in Britain and his 1963 book, Beyond a Boundary, has been hailed as the best book on cricket ever written.

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