The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution - C L R James; James Walvin; James Walvin; | Foyles Bookstore
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The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
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The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (Paperback)

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Synopsis

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 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'.

C L R James was born in Trinidad in 1901 and was one of the prominent figures in the West Indian diaspora. He wrote extensively on Caribbean history, Marxist theory, literary criticism, Western civilisation, African politics, cricket and popular culture. He died in 1989. James Walvin is Professor of modern history at the University of York and is co-editor of the journal 'Slavery and Abolition'.

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Customer Reviews

It is an understatement to say that this book is one of the most important for understanding West Indian history and its relationship with the rest of the world today. It shatters the myth that peoples under colonial administration in West Indian societies could not and did not seek self-determination. It also addresses clearly the origins of race and skin colour politics in contemporary West Indian society. Further, it clearly delineates how West Indian society is distinct from both European and African society. Heavy with footnotes, it builds a thesis for the importance of San Domingo as a colony in the 17th and 18th centuries; and how it became a major player, albeit short lived, in New World affairs. I read it with a keen interest in understanding the place of that giant of West Indian independence, Toussaint L'Ouverture in the region's history. I read it for leisure. Perhaps this is why I found the style of writing hard going and it took me a bit longer than expected to finish. Nevertheless, this tome is timeless. Anyone with an interest in West Indian society would certainly understand more about this region of the world by reading this book.

- 06/05/2013
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