A classic and impassioned account of the first revolution in the Third World. This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of. Jacobins. TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE AND. THE SAN DOMINGO REVOLUTION . SECOND EDITION, llEVISED c. L. R. JAMES. VINTAGE BOOKS. A Division of. Review of “The Black Jacobins” by CLR James . As the French revolution turned sour and the Jacobins were replaced by the Napoleonic.

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If you ever want to explore the sorrows that are the reality of today’s Haiti, you should start with this book. The elites remained royalist, while the bourgeoisie embraced the revolutionary ideals.

CLR James and the Black Jacobins

Toussaint’s nickname and eventually surname, means “the opening,” which refers to the skilled general’s ability to tear holes through the lines of the French forces in the initial battles of the Haitian anti-colonial war, but also to the fact that he, like the author of this review, has a gap between his front two teeth.

They set the simple tribesmen fighting against each other with modern weapons over thousands of square miles. Finally inFrance and Spain agreed to divide the island between themselves. At some points, I’d prefer him to just narrate the events and let them speak for themselves. They undertook vast hunger strikes; undid their chains and hurled themselves on the crew in futile attempts at insurrection. One of those dramatic moments in history that makes it hard to overcome cynicism about humanity.

Bear in mind that the soil bathed with our sweat must not furnish our enemies with the smallest sustenance. Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now.

The Black Jacobins

James refutes this slander arguing that the slaves were. The revolt is the only successful slave revolt in history, and the odds it had to overcome are evidence of the magnitude of the interests that were involved. You will literally shake your head at the stories of how slaves were treated under the law in Haiti. That seems to be just a political difference until you realise how little in this book there is about Dessalines or Moise or any of the other ex-slave leaders, what they thought and how they fought and how they worked together day in and day out jamex Toussaint or not as the case was.


Dec 27, Tom Shannon rated it it was amazing. In these towns, they built a new education system to train a new layer of Black rulers. Haiti is also the first country in the Western Hemisphere to totally abolish slavery. Who was on which side, exactly? The seeds of the problems of modern-day were sown during this period and in many ways the people are still suffering.

It was also because he was simultaneously thinking about his own relationship, and those of his fellow black radical Pan-Africanists like George Padmore, to the Russian Revolution.

The aristocracy of the skin becomes important in detailing internal strife in Haiti between Mullatoes and Blacks. What we as Marxists have to see is the tremendous role played by Negroes in the transformation of Western civilisation from feudalism to capitalism. Now the slaves saw their opportunity to strike out on their own for freedom and began to plan accordingly.

The Black Jacobins – Wikipedia

There was Toussaint, the former slave, incredibly grand and powerful and incomparably the greatest man in San Domingo. For it did much more than just expose the moral hypocrisy of its rivals and irreparably undermined their internal politics. They advance singing, for the Negro sings everywhere, makes songs on everything.

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. It shows L’Ouverture’s weaknesses so as not to just be a book of pure hero worship. He took advantage of Spanish support to acquire training and guns, and waited for the French National Assembly to decide where it stood on slavery.

But that’s always what I’ve found most chilling about Lenin and Trotsky. Join other followers. Whereas Marx towers above the disciple in the power of his abstract thought and gothic imagination, the disciple is superior as epic artist, especially as master of the graphic portrayal of masses and individuals in action.

They introduced forced labor in mines, murder, rape, bloodhounds, strange diseases, and artificial famine by the destruction of cultivation to starve the rebellious. It is hard to imagine worse circumstances in which to try to make history than those in which the men, women and children who were to make the Haitian Revolution found themselves. The bourgeoisie had already attempted to rein in the radicalization. James —a Trinidadian historian, political activist, and writer, is the author of The Black Jacobinsan influential study of the Haitian Revolution and the classic book on sport and culture, Beyond a Boundary.


This might have seemed practical at the time, but does not make for exciting reading, and is certainly not good revolutionary policy. His writing is impeccable, his research meticulous. James sets out to offer a view of the events that notes European and white perspectives without leaving them unquestioned. He kept language about the slave trade in Haiti’s constitution, so that slavers would continue to bring slaves to the Haitian shores, where he would free them from bondage.

Traditionally it has been argued that the French expedition of which consisted of some 60 troops was only defeated by weather and yellow fever and the revolutionaries were inferior militarily and could uacobins succeed with hames officers, and that Napoleon was not trying to reinstate slavery. The first chapter is titled “The Property” followed by “The Owners”, beginning with the economic relationship of profit, but not ignoring the many factors at play in this complex society.

Nov 02, Alex Lubben rated it it was amazing. Want to Read saving…. 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 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. Together they led the fight against the English and Spanish occupations.

He declared himself emperor for life. Highly recommended, for anyone interested in Haitian history, as well as just good solid well-written non-fiction books.

Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. Then in faced with more counterrevolution from the big whites, he launched a massacre of the remaining white population. The merchants and planters comprised the white ruling class of the colony, the so-called grand blancs, jjames big whites. After reading Trotsky’s recently published History of the Russian Revolution, he was drawn to anti-Stalinist Marxism and quickly emerged as a leading theoretician of various Trotskyist organizations, developing his own independent brand of Marxism after World War II based on the theory of state capitalism.