The Black Jacobins, first published in , changed the way colonial history was written. Its author, C L R James, would later recall his. A classic and impassioned account of the first revolution in the Third World. This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of. C. L. R. James’s brilliant book, The Black Jacobins, rescues the Haitian Revolution from repression. James wrote it in , making this year the seventieth.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — The Jacibins Jacobins by C. 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 ofa 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 Jqcobins colony of San Domingo, a pla A classic and impassioned account of the first revolution in the Third World. 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.
CLR James and the Black Jacobins – International Socialism
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 jqmes process helped form the first independent nation in the Caribbean. Paperback2nd Editionpages.
Published October 23rd by Vintage first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Black Jacobinsplease sign up. I am just turned Do you think I should read it now or some time later if it is a book which requires a good background in history?
Dan Golding A cursory knowledge of the French Revolution up until Napoleon becoming first consul for life would help. A quick summary from something like the …more A cursory knowledge of the French Revolution up until Napoleon becoming first consul for life would help. A quick summary from something like the Wikipedia would be fine. Otherwise it’s pretty self contained.
CLR James and the Black Jacobins
Give it a try. Carlos Llosa The most radical political group that came out of the French Revolution. This radicalism extended to Haiti like pamphlets and played a crucial role …more The most radical political group that came out of the French Revolution. This radicalism extended to Haiti like pamphlets and played a crucial role helping organize slave revolts.
See all 3 questions about The Black Jacobins…. Lists with This Book. Oct 13, Paul rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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 and was one of the seminal works of the history of the African diaspora. James was This is the classic account of the Haitian revolution; one of the most significant slave revolts. James was a writer and thinker who covered a wide range of issues. His love of sport led to books and writing on cricket; asking the question “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?
James was also a tireless political agitator over several decades. He met and worked with Trotsky, Kenyatta, Nkrumah to name a few and was very involved with many of the independence movements of the mid twentieth century. In the French colony of San Domingo was the richest slave colony in the Caribbean. James very consciously wrote this as a blueprint for how to run a successful revolution, he was aware that there would be a movement towards independence and away from the current imperial powers.
Toussaint was a slave, not six years out of slavery, bearing alone the unaccustomed burden of war and government, dictating his thoughts in the crude words of a broken dialect, written and rewritten by his secretaries until their devotion and his will had hammered them into adequate shape. It is written almost in novel style, but the historical analysis is still there. The slaves are the agents of their own emancipation and the story as it develops is gripping.
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
This is a detailed historical text and is not a quick read and there are plenty of twists and turns. The slave rebellion ultimately fought off attempts to overthrow it by the Spanish, British and the French. He did not survive to see the revolution safe and complete and was captured by the French and died in France. Wordsworth wrote a sonnet in lament which ends thou hast great allies; Thy friends are exultations, agonies, And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.
James argues against the prevailing historiography of the time. 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 only succeed with white officers, and that Napoleon was not trying to reinstate slavery.
James explodes all these myths. Napoleon had appointed his brother-in-law to lead the expedition and James tracked down extensive correspondence and pieced together the campaign. It is clear that there was every intention by the French to reinstate slavery and James suggests that there is evidence of a plan to exterminate the whole non-white population hundreds of thousands of people and bring across new slaves from Africa because they would be less likely to rebel.
James takes on a few myths; one in particular, that the abolition of the slave trade was due to the campaigning of people in Britain like Wilberforce and other anti-slavery activists.
James does not demean their views, but he argues they were being used and the real reasons were economic. San Domingo was an economic powerhouse, producing great riches for France and many of the slaves were being bought from the British. Voices in Britain were beginning to question why the government was helping fund a French colony.
From a capitalist perspective Adam Smith was already arguing that slavery was not an efficient economic system. It may have made and kept much of the aristocracy and establishment rich, but it was ceasing to make economic sense in terms of the growing industrial revolution. James brings the book up to date with an appendix written in the s linking the Haitian revolution with that of Cuba.
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C.L.R. James
He also does not detail the important role women played in the revolution. He hints at their importance and later historians have begun to tell their story. View all 8 comments. Jul 25, Jamea rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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 clf in his shadow and in response to James. You can hardly call yourself a Third World James’ masterpiece. You can hardly call yourself a Third World type without having read and responded to this book. Better even than Collingwood in philosophy. No history I have read comes close James’ prose. James makes the Haitian Revolution come alive.
You get to know his hero, Toussaint, as if he were a family member. James makes sure we know Toussaint’s failures as well. Not once but twice Toussaint is willing to turn his army of former slaves and betray the revolution for the price being acknowledged as a free Frenchman.
Nor is James shy about exposing the violence committed by the former slaves against the white and mixed armies. Perhaps the best aspect of this book is that it is an interactive history of the Haitian and French Revolutions. After reading this book it becomes impossible to think of the French Revolution without considering that its unfolding and its ultimate stillbirth is the result of the French revolutionaries’ inability to think of the Haitian slaves as actual human beings.
We are talking about the most progressive elements of the left here. And so it is still today. It is in this book I began to understand how and why modern ideals bend back on themselves to reveal the barbarism of Europe’s modernity. James does all this by anticipating what I am calling “interactive, dynamic, third world histories” — those written by the likes of Stavrianos, Eric Wolf, Janet Abu-Loughod, K.
Chaudhuri, and even Amitav Ghosh. These are histories that do not limit themselves to the boundaries of states or false continents such as “Europe” Western Asia and which take global flows as the unit of analysis.
Further, white people are not limited to being bad guys. There are at least two or three characters who commit cultural suicide, forgo the benefits of power and privilege, and join up with the slaves. One could hardly believe this to be true. But there it is, an ambition for us all. Also present is a careful and delicate tension between James’ class analysis — he is self-identified Marxist, and his analysis of race, culture, and nationalism.
I have taught this book for years and have never felt that I broke through the surface of James’ deeper yearnings. There is no event in the modern period that is more important and less visible than the Haitian Revolution.
This book explodes this silence and changes everything. It is as much a book as event of history itself.