Geggus, Patrick David and Norman Fiering (eds.). The World of the Haitian Revolution.

Author:Saye, Lisa
Position:Book review

Geggus, Patrick David and Norman Fiering (eds.). The World of the Haitian Revolution. Bloomington, IN:Indiana University Press, 2009.440 pp.

Many of us in the West can make intelligent remarks regarding the last two decades of Haitian history with relative ease; not with-standing the current catastrophe of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Many people are familiar with various elements of the contemporary world of Haiti and can make scholarly generalizations about the often violent civil strife experienced since the Duvalier Era ended in 1986. In eighteen distinct examinations tracing the pre-revolutionary environment to literary and international reactions regarding the revolutions success, The World of the Haitian Revolution delivers a thorough often neglected presentation of characteristics of that era. For the available literature, Geggus and Fiering add discussions of greater motivations and intents of Haitian leaders, colonial masters and France. Peppered with stories of intrigue regarding the slaves use of poison as a weapon, violations against the free people of color while wearing a certain 'color' of clothing, the unification that Voodoo provided as the commonality for different diverse groups and in-depth explanations of plantation life including plant varieties, descriptions of plantations, crops, and mills, The World of the Haitian Revolution delivers a world not often treated in scholarly literature.

The text includes a succession of articles that move along a continuum that includes further dissemination of stories beginning with the evolution of free people of color into wealthy 'patriots' and examining how the dissolution of the colonial militia provided the slaves and free people of color the opportunity to take the colony. Not often cited but a common thread throughout the latter half of the text presents an explanation of how the intention for independence was preceded by the intention for freedom from slavery coupled with the hope for some level of assimilation by Haiti's free people of color. Honorable mention is given to the burden of King Louis XIV's Sixteenth Century Code Noir on the Haitian colony as well as the degree to which instances like the Seven Year's War and the Enlightenment Period weakened the resolve of France to continue slavery witnessed by her attempts to introduce slight reforms through the implementation of Commissions. The white flag of the monarchy hoisted during attacks by the revolting slaves to...

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