Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History | C. L. R. James, Nic Watts & Sakina Karimjee
272 pages | Verso Books | 10.10.23
Written by C. L. R. James, the Trinidadian revolutionary whose classic study Black Jacobins has been in print for eighty-five years and is the definitive history of the revolution, this book’s text itself has a fascinating history. It’s drawn from a play that opened in London in 1936, with Paul Robeson in the title role, the first time black actors starred on the British stage in a play by a black playwright. The script was lost for almost seventy years, then a draft copy was found among James's archives, and now this extraordinary drama has been turned into a graphic novel by artists Nic Watts and Sakina Karimjee.
This page-turning visual narrative surrounds Toussaint with fiery radicals like Haitian leader Dessalines and intransigent French like Napoleon. Above all, the book portrays the world-changing force of the enslaved Haitian people, for, as James famously wrote, “Toussaint did not make the revolution. It was the revolution that made Toussaint.”
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