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Facing Racial Revolution: Eyewitness Accounts of the Haitian Insurrection [Paperback]

Jeremy D Popkin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £13.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Feb 2008
The only truly successful slave uprising in the Atlantic world, the Haitian Revolution gave birth to the first independent black republic of the modern era. Inspired by the revolution that had recently roiled their French rulers, black slaves and people of mixed race alike rose up against their oppressors in a bloody insurrection that led to the burning of the colony's largest city, a bitter struggle against Napoleon's troops, and, in 1804, the founding of a free nation. Numerous firsthand narratives of these events survive, but their invaluable insights into the period have languished in obscurity - until now. In "Facing Racial Revolution", Jeremy D. Popkin unearths these documents and presents excerpts from more than a dozen accounts written by white colonists trying to come to grips with a world that had suddenly disintegrated. These dramatic writings give us our most direct portrayal of the actions of the revolutionaries, vividly depicting encounters with the uprising's leaders - Toussaint L'ouverture, Boukman, and Jean-Jacques Dessalines - as well as putting faces on many of the anonymous participants in this epochal moment. Popkin's expert commentary on each selection provides the necessary background about the authors and the incidents they describe, while also addressing the complex question of the witnesses' reliability and urging the reader to consider the implications of the narrators' perspectives. Along with the American and French revolutions, the birth of Haiti helped shape the modern world. The powerful, moving, and sometimes troubling testimonies collected in Facing Racial Revolution significantly expand our understanding of this momentous event.

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Facing Racial Revolution: Eyewitness Accounts of the Haitian Insurrection + You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (26 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226675831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226675831
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 16 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 654,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Jeremy Popkin's collection of first-person narratives of the Haitian Revolution is an extremely valuable work: accessible, sound, and intelligent. I only wish such a book had been available fifteen years ago when I was in the early stages of researching my series of novels. Popkin has been deft and tactful in stitching together these excerpts, and as a result, he manages to tell a complete version of the Revolution almost entirely in the words of the people who experienced it - this book engaged me deeply." - Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls' Rising"

About the Author

Jeremy D. Popkin is the T. Marshall Hahn Jr. Professor of History at the University of Kentucky. He is the author of several books, including Revolutionary News: The Press in France, 1789-1799 and History, Historians, and Autobiography.

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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent 30 Aug 2011
This collection of narratives is brilliant and fun to read. Studying it is important if you are to place the revoultionary period of the 1790s in a wider context. Unfortunatly, because of obvious reasons explained, the stories are mainly from the white planters perspectives. The book should be read along with Popkin's later work "You Are All Free" to get a fuller understanding.
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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get hooked on Haitian history! 4 Feb 2011
By Julie Sakellariadis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most exciting history books I have ever read. It feels so real and immediate, that one can't put it down. I started reading histories of Haiti's revolution as background to genealogical work, and Popkin's book got me hooked completely on this era of history (I have now read five or six other books about the Haitian revolution.). There are no surviving written texts by the slaves, yet if one reads Popkin's book carefully one can begin to understand, through the eyes of these first hand accounts, the dimensions of the twisted transformation of the Europeans who owned and managed slaves (the first chapter, Becoming a Slavemaster), and mistreated them so brutally, as well as the misdirected anger of the island's white non-slaveholders towards the island's successful free people of color (e.g., the incident in Jeremie). What a terrible time and place to have been a person of African descent. Popkin's translations, and the historical background he provides for each, together paint the horrors of slavery and racism in compelling, direct, and graphic terms. This book is for anyone who loves to read and to think.
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of the forgotten holocaust 9 Sep 2013
By MR - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book goes beyond what most historians try to pass on as original work. If you read enough books about Haiti common retelling of certain stories emerge and rarely even touch on the genocidal atrocities inflicted on the white inhabitants of Haiti. This masterpiece breaks down walls that were previously established to cover up the brutality that gripped a former French colony. I used parts of this book as references for a college paper and my professor dismissed this as fiction because it didn't fit the wonderful ideas that he had been taught about the Haitian revolution. The accounts you will read in this historical document are not for those with delicate sensibilities or weak stomachs.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Useful collection of primary documents 1 Oct 2010
By Haiti lover - Published on Amazon.com
This is a useful collection of primary sources on the Haitian Revolution, to be used in university classes on the topic. The big problem is that virtually all the documents selected were written by white planters, so the book is not very well balanced. The reader by Dubois and Garrigus was better done in that regard.
1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Deers and headlights 25 April 2012
By shopless - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book provides ample proof that the whites of St.Domingue were suicidally deluded and stupid. I found the author's comparison of the plight of the French colons to that of the Jews under the Nazis absurd and offensive. Mr. Popkin took liberties with the historical record when he tried to pass off the Saint Janvier story as factual.
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