by Philippe R. Girard
University of Alabama Press, 2011
eISBN: 978-0-8173-8540-8 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-1732-4 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5820-4
Library of Congress Classification F1923.G57 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 972.9403

A deeply researched and definitive account of the climactic battle at the end of the Haitian Revolution

Among the many rebellions against European colonial empires, the Haitian Revolution against France is among the most dramatic and complex. Having begun in 1791 as France was in the throes of its own young revolution, the conflict reached its dramatic climax when Napoleon dispatched a heavily armed expeditionary force led by his brother-in-law Charles Leclerc to re-establish slavery and the sugar economy that had so enriched France. Philippe Girard’s Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon is a deeply researched and engrossing account of this invasion and its spectacular defeat.

For this ambitious account, Philippe Girard has studied not only primary records in Haiti itself but also rare documents from nineteen public and private archives and research libraries in French, U.S., British, and Spanish collections. His more inclusive approach provides a fuller, more accurate and detailed narrative. He reveals not only key military movements, but also less-known aspects like the activities of U.S. merchants, in-fighting within Napoleon’s government, and communication between both sides and other European powers. Girard fills the work with unforgettable stories of those who led or were caught up in the war, people like poorly armed Black soldiers who ambushed Bonaparte’s columns, French child drummers, Jewish bankers in Kingston, weapon smugglers from Quaker Philadelphia, Polish artillerists, and mixed-raced people struggling to preserve their freedom against both Black and white opponents.

Transcending pat ideological and racial categories, the book brings into focus an Atlantic society at the crossroads of African and European influences, where Haitian rebels fought France while embracing its ideals.

See other books on: Haiti | Independence | Revolution, 1791-1804 | Revolutionaries | Statesmen
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