TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History

Cover of CLR James' Book about Haiti and TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE

Tim Thomas

Release Date

Friday, April 28, 2023


Adapted by Nic Watts and Sakina Karimjee, Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History is an impassioned and beautifully drawn graphic novel dramatically recounting ‘one of the great epics of revolutionary struggle and achievement’—the Haitian Revolution of 1794–1803. It is also the stirring—and incredible—story of Toussaint Louverture, a man born into slavery who rose to become the revolt’s indispensable leader. Perhaps more than any other figure from the Age of Revolution, he gave voice to a truly universal call for liberty and equality.

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. Drawn from a play that opened in London in 1936, with Paul Robeson in the title role, it was 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, until a draft copy was found among James's archive.

This page-turning visual narrative surrounds Toussaint with fiery radicals like Haitian leader Dessalines and intransigent French like Napoleon. Above all, Toussaint Louverture 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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