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Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution
"[A] timely, painstaking narrative of the circumstances surrounding the original Haitian revolution and struggle for independence....Laurent Dubois's patient study offers a valuable glimpse into the complexities of the creation of modern Haiti that supplants the usual commonplaces on this 'first black republic.'" Nick Caistor, The Times Literary Supplement (read the entire Times Literary Supplement review)
Synopses & Reviews
The first and only successful slave revolution in the Americas began in 1791 when thousands of brutally exploited slaves rose up against their masters on Saint-Domingue, the most profitable colony in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Within a few years, the slave insurgents forced the French administrators of the colony to emancipate them, a decision ratified by revolutionary Paris in 1794. This victory was a stunning challenge to the order of master/slave relations throughout the Americas, including the southern United States, reinforcing the most fervent hopes of slaves and the worst fears of masters.
But, peace eluded Saint-Domingue as British and Spanish forces attacked the colony. A charismatic ex-slave named Toussaint Louverture came to France's aid, raising armies of others like himself and defeating the invaders. Ultimately Napoleon, fearing the enormous political power of Toussaint, sent a massive mission to crush him and subjugate the ex-slaves. After many battles, a decisive victory over the French secured the birth of Haiti and the permanent abolition of slavery from the land. The independence of Haiti reshaped the Atlantic world by leading to the French sale of Louisiana to the United States and the expansion of the Cuban sugar economy.
Laurent Dubois weaves the stories of slaves, free people of African descent, wealthy whites, and French administrators into an unforgettable tale of insurrection, war, heroism, and victory. He establishes the Haitian Revolution as a foundational moment in the history of democracy and human rights.
"Clearly written, well researched, and with excellent notes, this work would be useful for researchers, since Dubois's intent is to 'spur the imagination as well as to invite response and revision.'" Library Journal
"[A] sinuous and stirring account of 'the largest slave revolt in the history of the world, and the only one that succeeded.'" John Leonard, Harper's
"What Laurent Dubois has achieved is a synthesis of the most current research in a strikingly accessible and appealing presentation, be it to experts or to general readers unfamiliar with the subject. Avengers of the New World is more than likely to become the new standard work in English on one of the most under-reported events in the history of the Western Hemisphere." Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls Rising and Master of the Crossroads
"Avengers of the New World is a luminous model for the history of revolution, for a 'people's' history of freedom, and, not least, for a history that is truly Atlantic in scope. At once original, deeply learned, and gracefully written, Dubois' achievement is worthy of its great lineage: that of C.L.R. James and Aime Cesaire." James C. Scott, author of Domination and the Arts of Resistance and Weapons of the Weak
About the Author
Laurent Dubois is Associate Professor of History at Michigan State University.
Table of Contents
1. Specters of Saint-Domingue
Epilogue: Out of the Ashes
What Our Readers Are Saying