Toussaint Louverture A Biography

ISBN-10: 1400079357
ISBN-13: 9781400079353
Edition: N/A
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Description: In 1791, Saint Domingue was both the richest and cruelest colony in the Western Hemisphere; more than a third of African slaves died within a few years of their arrival there. Thirteen years later, Haitian rebels declared independence from France  More...

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Book details

List price: $14.95
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 1/8/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.584

In 1791, Saint Domingue was both the richest and cruelest colony in the Western Hemisphere; more than a third of African slaves died within a few years of their arrival there. Thirteen years later, Haitian rebels declared independence from France after the first--and only--successful slave revolution in history. Much of the success of this uprising can be credited to one man, Toussaint Louverture--a figure about whom surprisingly little is known. In this fascinating biography, the first about Toussaint to appear in English in more than fifty years, Madison Smartt Bell combines a novelist's passion for his subject with a deep knowledge of the historical milieu that produced the man. Toussaint has been known either as a martyr of the revolution or as the instigator of one of history’s most savagely violent events. Bell shatters this binary perception, producing a clear-eyed picture of a complicated figure. Toussaint, born a slave, became a slaveholder himself, with associates among the white planter class. Bell demonstrates how his privileged position served as both an asset and a liability, enabling him to gain the love of blacks and mulattoes as "Papa Toussaint" but also sowing mistrust in their minds. Another of Bell's brilliant achievements is demonstrating how Toussaint’s often surprising actions, such as his support for the king of France even as the French Revolution promised an end to slavery and his betrayal of a planned slave revolt in Jamaica, can be explained by his desire to achieve liberation for the blacks of Saint Domingue. This masterly biography is a revelation of one of the most fascinating and important figures in New World history. From the Hardcover edition.

Madison Smartt Bell was born and raised in Tennessee; he studied at Princeton University and Hollins College. He has taught in a variety of capacities, including the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, the University of Southern Maine, Goucher College, and as a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony. Much of his writing, which reflects a concern with race relations, has been critically acclaimed. Bell was awarded the 1989 Lillian Smith Award for Soldier's Joy. His 1996 historical novel All Soul's Rising was nominated for both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. All Soul's Rising, which depicts the slave uprising in Haiti in the late eighteenth century, also led to his selection to the Granta's list of Best Young American Novelists. His books include The Washington Square Ensemble (1983), Waiting for the End of the World (1985), Straight Cut (1986), The Year of Silence (1987), Zero dB (1987), Soldier's Joy (1989), Barking Man (1990), Doctor Sleep (1991), Save Me, Joe Lewis (1993), and All Soul's Rising (1996). His short stories have been frequently anthologized, including selection for the annual Best American Short Stories for 1984, 1987, 1989, and 1990. Bell teaches at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Opening the Gate
Before the Storm
Turning the Tide
Closing the Circle
The Last Campaign
Toussaint in Chains
Scattering the Bones
Afterword: The Image of Toussaint
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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