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

The Black Jacobins Toussaint L ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution In the West Indian colony of San Domingo supplied two thirds of the overseas trade of France The entire structure of what was arguably the most profitable colony in the world rested on the labour

  • Title: The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
  • Author: C.L.R. James
  • ISBN: 9780140299816
  • Page: 111
  • Format: Paperback
  • In 1789 the West Indian colony of San Domingo supplied two thirds of the overseas trade of France The entire structure of what was arguably the most profitable colony in the world rested on the labour of half a million slaves In 1791 the waves of unrest inspired by the French Revolution reached across the Atlantic dividing the loyalties of the white population of the islIn 1789 the West Indian colony of San Domingo supplied two thirds of the overseas trade of France The entire structure of what was arguably the most profitable colony in the world rested on the labour of half a million slaves In 1791 the waves of unrest inspired by the French Revolution reached across the Atlantic dividing the loyalties of the white population of the island The brutally treated slaves of Saint Domingo seized at this confusion and rose up in rebellion against masters In thisclassic work, CLR James chronicles the only successful slave revolt in history and provides a critical portrait of their leader, Toussaint L Ouverture, one of the most remarkable men of a period rich in remarkable men.

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    About " C.L.R. James "

  • C.L.R. James

    C L R James 1901 1989 , a Trinidadian historian, political activist, and writer, is the author of The Black Jacobins, an influential study of the Haitian Revolution and the classic book on sport and culture, Beyond a Boundary His play Toussaint Louverture The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History was recently discovered in the archives and published Duke University Press.

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  • This is the classic account of the Haitian revolution; one of the most significant slave revolts. C L R James is a historian in the Marxist tradition and he is passionate about his subject. James was a Trinidadian and I knew him originally as a writer about cricket (I kid you not) and he has written one of the best books ever written about cricket (Beyond a Boundary). The Black Jacobins was first published in 1938 and was one of the seminal works of the history of the African diaspora. James was [...]


  • James' masterpiece. It's considered one of the most important histories ever written. I consider it a landmark in my own life. It had explosive effects on my thinking. There is no way to do justice to this book in a review. But let me try.I am going to rave about this book. But there is also plenty of criticism of it. Every historian of the Haitian Revolution has to comment on this book. All of them have to write in his shadow and in response to James. You can hardly call yourself a Third World [...]


  • A courageous chief only is wanted. Where is he, that great man whom Nature owes to her vexed, oppressed and tormented children? Where is he? He will appear, doubt it not; he will come forth and raise the sacred standard of liberty.-Abbe RaynalThis is an engaging look at the most successful slave revolt in history. CLR James approaches this history through the two dimensions of race and class, superseding questions of race and identification (as fluid as they are), with economic analysis. Richer [...]


  • MapPreface to the Vintage EditionPreface to the First Edition--The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo RevolutionBibliographyAppendix: From Toussaint L'Ouverture to Fidel CastroIndex


  • This is a fascinating and tragic story, one I knew very little about, and on the most basic level of simply understanding an incredibly complex part of history, this does a very engaging job. He writes the history of places like Haiti the way they should always be written, as playing a part on a world-wide stage, deeply influenced by and deeply influencing other countries. France's wealthiest colony, San Domingo funded the French Revolution, it diverted a sizeable number of (and bested) British [...]


  • I’m too tired to do this book justice, for which I apologise. Briefly, I’d only come across references to the Haitian Revolution before in histories of the French Revolution. The two were closely entwined, however the importance of the Haitian Revolution is often overlooked as it was a revolution led by black slaves against their colonial oppressors: the French. It’s a great deal more complicated than that, however as the book closes an army of former slaves has defeated Napoleon’s army, [...]


  • The brilliance of CLR James is evident from the first page to the last of Black Jacobins, although I found it a little dissatisfying and patchy in its construction.James begins with a vivid description of life under slavery in San Domingo and perhaps some of the finest writing is saved until the very end, where he describes the violence of the Haitian War of Independence with the same exactness and colour. It is these closing chapters which he uses as a rallying cry for the liberation of Africa. [...]


  • James's history of the anti-colonial rising in what is now Haiti during the French revolution and its suppression by the revolutionary regime is one of the great analyses of colonial rebellion and struggles for liberation. Essential reading for a grasp of imperialism and colonialism – and I was delighted to see that Toussaint L'Ouverture is now commemorated in The Panthéon – France's monument to national heroes. He is not buried there: he died in a French prison and the location of his plac [...]


  • a passionate and meticulously sourced account of the Haitian Revolution and the life of its most celebrated leader, Toussaint L'Ouverture. James pulls no punches when discussing the contradiction between the lofty ideals of the French Revolution and the bourgeoisie's unwillingness to let go of the tremendous wealth of slave-cultivated San Domingo, nor does he spare the European abolitionists of the time. it's a book full of gut-wrenching horrors, as any honest account of colonialism must be. it' [...]



  • After the earthquake in Haiti, all books about Haiti in the Pittsburgh library system were checked out. I was on the wait list for this book for about 6 months. Unfortunately it finally arrived at a time when I was trying to finish up another non-fiction book before going out of town. I was only able to get through about half of the book. That being said, it was a lot more dry than I expected and had I not read another history on Haiti first, I may have been pretty lost. I think I must have a co [...]


  • Not only is Toussaint one of the most interesting persona in history, C.L.R. James knows how to make of that a legend. It is worth considering just how good James is, since I remain just slightly suspicious of some of the descriptions, which make of Toussaint a more than human character. But there are enough cold hard facts to dispel even the most bitter of us, and draw us into Toussaint's story. Generally, I don't find histories to be gripping, but Toussaint's fight is the best kind of fight; f [...]


  • I have held a long fascination for Haiti, first because of voodoo, but then because it was the first really successful slave revolt in the history of the western hemisphere. The Black Jacobins was written in the 1930's, and it shows, but James has a sharp tongue and an even sharper eye for the hypocrisies of revolutionary France and their bourgeoisie. He lays the Haitian revolution out clearly from the heyday of the slave-owning San Domingo colony, through the start of the French Revolution, and [...]


  • Daniel Meltzer wrote a wonderful review of this book, which I agree with:This book was excellent read. The strengths included breathtaking battle scenes, rousing rhetoric for freedom and against slavery, brilliant stories of liberation, and page-turning political intrigue. The weaknesses in the book come from self-defeating politics of discipline for the sake of discipline, and the heart-rending compromises that Toussaint L'Overture makes with people who see him and the republic he created as no [...]


  • A great view of the fight against imperialism and slavery. Haiti is the first black republic and is often touted as having the only successful slave revolt in history. Haiti is also the first country in the Western Hemisphere to totally abolish slavery. The book showed the strength of Toussaint L'Ouverture and the imperialist racism of France under both the Monarchy and Napoleon. It shows L'Ouverture's weaknesses so as not to just be a book of pure hero worship. Like many Marxists books, I felt [...]


  • About the Author: Cyril Lionel Robert James was born in Trinidad in 1901. He early on exhibited an ardent interest in literature and cricket – two great passions that were to remain with him throughout his life. He became a schoolteacher in 1918, having received a classical British education with a scholarship to Queens Royal College in Trinidad. In 1932 James went to Britain to pursue a career as a writer and soon become cricket correspondent for the Manchester Guardian and the Glasgow Herald [...]


  • In the 1790s-1800s, the Haitian revolution took place, and San Domingo, one of the most brutal slave colonies in the West Indies turned into Haiti, an independent state led by a former slave. Focusing on not only on Toussaint L'Ouverture, but on the material conditions that surrounded the only successful slave revolt in history, CLR James presents a very complete overview of the twenty years where history was made. His book gives a critical overview on how race and class can sometimes overlap, a [...]


  • Trevor Phillips OBE ,head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has chosen to discuss C L R James’sThe Black Jacobins , on FiveBooks (five-books) as one of the top five on his subject - Equality, saying that:“… This book is very complex because it does not make the rebellion’s leader, Toussaint L’Ouverture, into a sort of plaster saint. This is a guy who led a revolt against an absolutely brutal, manipulative slave-owning class and in some respects he had to be just as ghastly [...]


  • If you ever want to explore the sorrows that are the reality of today's Haiti, you should start with this book. The book explores the seeds of revolution in Haiti, the attempts by soldier/statesman L'Ouverture to diplomatically secure freedom for enslaved Africans in Haiti, to final military victory secured by Dessaline. It is a well written book about a country and people just written off by Nations of the Western Hemishphere and by France. The conditions and the brutality endured by the Africa [...]


  • The history of a most significant revolution brought to light by C L R James. This was a revolution to make everyone free, not just a select few. One wonders at how different the world would be if the founders of Haiti had had been given an opportunity to establish themselves! This for is for me is one of the best histories coming from the Caribbean! A book which brings the Haitian revolution and the characters involved to life.


  • I became a huge fan of anything to do with Hatian history while I was a student of French studies at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. As a result, I came across C. L. R. James. His writing is impeccable, his research meticulous. If you are interested in Hatian history, this is a must-readltygurl



  • I'm going on a Caribbean cruise in two weeks and I'm a guilty white liberal, so here I am reviewing "The Black Jacobins," a milestone in post-colonial literature, a sensitive treatment of a complex man leading a totally improbable revolutionary movement, and the ultimate "fuck you" to white people. This is FIERCE history, man. C.L.R. James is a great scholar with a billion sources, so I'm inclined to believe what he says Which is, basically, that Toussaint was a total fucking badass who led a mu [...]


  • This is how to write history. The prose, the research and James' analysis are breathtaking. From this book springs forth the type of historian James was. He was telling more than the history of the Haitian Revolution. The revolution is but the background to his larger project of explaining his dialectics and politics through the lens of Toussaint, Napolean, Dessalines and the Haitian people. The last chapter is James at his best. Its more than an account of the battles that took place during the [...]


  • From the preface:In 1789 the French West Indian colony of San Domingo supplied two-thirds of the overseas trade of France and was the greatest individual market for the European slave-trade. It was an integral part of the economic life of the age, the greatest colony in the world, the pride of France, and the envy of every other imperialist nation. The whole structure rested on the labour of half-a-million slaves. In August 1791, after two years of the French Revolution and its repercussions in [...]


  • The writings of the Jacobin theorist, Abbe Raynal, inspired Haitians struggling for independence, to become Black Jacobins. Toussaint remains a Jacobin until his capture, after which successor Dessalines and Haiti will break with France. France then forces on Haiti a crushing debt - the opposite of the deserved reparations. Reynal wrote regarding slave insurrections, “A courageous chief only is wanted. Where is he?” That passage alone was read intensely many times by Toussaint until he knew [...]


  • Good book. It's the about the Haitian Revolution. But it's about much more than revolt & paints a vivid picture. It takes into account the historical conditions, the experiences of the people in the colony, the roles they played before, during & after, which includes the black people that were slaves, the white people, mulattoes, the latter two which were both slave masters, as well as mulatto slaves, & also it takes into account the politics that drove everything before, during & [...]


  • C L R James was a Trinidadian historian and journalist whose book on cricket has been described by none other than John Arlott as the finest book written on the game. He was also a Marxist which if you didn’t already know could be divined here from the frequent use of the word bourgeoisie and many mentions of class. Note also, "The rich are only defeated when running for their lives." The San Domingo Revolution was the only successful slave revolt in history. It eventually led to the establish [...]


  • C.L.R. James utilizes this text to shed the light on Haiti during the times leading up to the Haitian Revolution and the remarkable events during. We learn about the will of the people who refused to be treated badly and degraded; the determination and commitment to fight for freedom until the death and their fearlessness to pull these actions through. On an island inhabited by individuals stolen from their home country, they couldn't grasp the concept of why they needed to negotiate their lives [...]


  • It is difficult to recall a more challenging book, both in detail and content. Difficult to follow, with a thousand French names to disentangle, and a hundred locations to remember. But rewarding beyond what normally expects from a book. I come as white anarcho-communist, but educated in the near and distant past in the traditions of white, European liberalism. I've probably for long seen things from a Marxist perspective, and reading James is in many ways comforting; he speaks in something clos [...]


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