100 books like The Haitians

By Jean Casimir, Laurent Dubois (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Haitians fans have personally recommended if you like The Haitians. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History

Ari Joskowicz Author Of Rain of Ash: Roma, Jews, and the Holocaust

From my list on uncovering hidden and marginalized histories.

Who am I?

I am a scholar of European history who spent the last twenty years studying how minorities relate to each other and how their efforts to communicate their silenced histories are entwined. I remain fascinated by the many ways we think we know—and so frequently fail—to grasp the suffering and ambitions of others. All of this makes me ultimately a historian of the hidden stories of marginalized people and of the struggle to document and understand them.

Ari's book list on uncovering hidden and marginalized histories

Ari Joskowicz Why did Ari love this book?

Trouillot explains like no other why we need to care about how history is made.

Whatever your area of expertise or level of knowledge about Haiti, Trouillot will make you care about the country’s forgotten history. Each essay in this volume demonstrates why we remember certain aspects of the past and ignore others and how those ignored parts are so often not just forgotten but actively silenced.

I teach this book to history undergraduates and graduate students alike. They always tell me that it was one of their favorites. It’s also a book that I wished I had known when I started studying history.

By Michel-Rolph Trouillot,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Silencing the Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now part of the HBO docuseries Exterminate All the Brutes, written and directed by Raoul Peck

The 20th anniversary edition of a pioneering classic that explores the contexts in which history is produced—now with a new foreword by renowned scholar Hazel Carby
 
Placing the West’s failure to acknowledge the Haitian Revolution—the most successful slave revolt in history—alongside denials of the Holocaust and the debate over the Alamo, Michel-Rolph Trouillot offers a stunning meditation on how power operates in the making and recording of history.

This modern classic resides at the intersection of history, anthropology, Caribbean, African-American, and post-colonial studies, and…


Book cover of Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

Michael Kwass Author Of Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground

From my list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France.

Who am I?

I’m a Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University who studies the history of France and the French empire. My research stretches from the age of Louis XIV through the French Revolution, exploring questions of political economy, capitalism, empire, the Enlightenment, and popular culture. At a moment when historical research is becoming increasingly specialized, my work builds bridges between political, economic, and cultural history. 

Michael's book list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France

Michael Kwass Why did Michael love this book?

I find this book as enlightening as it is useful. In a single volume, Dubois provides a sweeping history of the Haitian Revolution and its legacy. He recounts not only how Haitians rose up against slavery to establish their own independent nation, but how that nation struggled internally to define itself while contending externally with a racist and hostile world order.

By Laurent Dubois,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Haiti as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Even before the recent earthquake destroyed much of the country, Haiti was known as a benighted place of poverty and corruption. Maligned and misunderstood, the nation has long been blamed by many for its own wretchedness. But as acclaimed historian Laurent Dubois demonstrates, Haiti's troubles owe more to a legacy of international punishment for the original sin of staging the only successful slave revolt in the world. Dubois vividly depicts the isolation and impoverishment that followed the 1804 rebellion: the crushing indemnities imposed by the former French rulers, which initiated a cycle of debt; the multiple interventions by the U.S.…


Book cover of Entrepôt of Revolutions: Saint-Domingue, Commercial Sovereignty, and the French-American Alliance

Michael Kwass Author Of Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground

From my list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France.

Who am I?

I’m a Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University who studies the history of France and the French empire. My research stretches from the age of Louis XIV through the French Revolution, exploring questions of political economy, capitalism, empire, the Enlightenment, and popular culture. At a moment when historical research is becoming increasingly specialized, my work builds bridges between political, economic, and cultural history. 

Michael's book list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France

Michael Kwass Why did Michael love this book?

Covo investigates long-neglected economic aspects of the Haitian Revolution. Beginning in the pre-revolutionary period, when the French called the colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) the “Pearl of the Caribbean,” this deeply researched book spotlights the role Haiti played as a commodities hub during the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions. I find this book particularly important because it shows how imperial trade and racial capitalism defined the age of commercial republicanism.

By Manuel Covo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Entrepôt of Revolutions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Age of Revolutions has been celebrated for the momentous transition from absolute monarchies to representative governments and the creation of nation-states in the Atlantic world. Much less recognized than the spread of democratic ideals was the period's growing traffic of goods, capital, and people across imperial borders and reforming states' attempts to control this mobility.

Analyzing the American, French, and Haitian revolutions in an interconnected narrative, Manuel Covo centers imperial trade as a driving force, arguing that commercial factors preceded and conditioned political change across the revolutionary Atlantic. At the heart of these transformations was the "entrepot," the island…


Book cover of Haiti's Paper War: Post-Independence Writing, Civil War, and the Making of the Republic, 1804–1954

Michael Kwass Author Of Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground

From my list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France.

Who am I?

I’m a Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University who studies the history of France and the French empire. My research stretches from the age of Louis XIV through the French Revolution, exploring questions of political economy, capitalism, empire, the Enlightenment, and popular culture. At a moment when historical research is becoming increasingly specialized, my work builds bridges between political, economic, and cultural history. 

Michael's book list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France

Michael Kwass Why did Michael love this book?

A Professor of French and Francophone studies, Stieber describes the development of Haitian literature and print culture in the immediate aftermath of that nation’s revolution, when Haiti was divided between a southern Francocenteric republic and a northern anti-colonial monarchy. I’m impressed by all the ways in which this book illuminates the literary dimension of Haiti’s civil war, underscoring how writers on different sides of the conflict offered competing visions of Haiti’s past, present, and future. The book further explores how this cultural divide played out in successive Haitian governments and even in how historians write about Haiti today.

By Chelsea Stieber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Haiti's Paper War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2021 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

Turns to the written record to re-examine the building blocks of a nation
Picking up where most historians conclude, Chelsea Stieber explores the critical internal challenge to Haiti's post-independence sovereignty: a civil war between monarchy and republic. What transpired was a war of swords and of pens, waged in newspapers and periodicals, in literature, broadsheets, and fliers. In her analysis of Haitian writing that followed independence, Stieber composes a new literary history of Haiti, that challenges our interpretations of both freedom struggles and the postcolonial. By examining internal dissent during the revolution, Stieber reveals…


Book cover of Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution

Katlyn Marie Carter Author Of Democracy in Darkness: Secrecy and Transparency in the Age of Revolutions

From my list on revolutionary ideas.

Who am I?

I am a historian of the eighteenth-century Atlantic World, specializing in the American and French Revolutions. The relationship between ideas and politics has fascinated me since I worked in media relations in Washington, DC. Because I think history can help us better understand our current political controversies and challenges, I write about the origins of representative democracy in the eighteenth century. I’m also an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame where I teach classes on colonial and revolutionary America, the Constitution, and history of the media.

Katlyn's book list on revolutionary ideas

Katlyn Marie Carter Why did Katlyn love this book?

The Haitian Revolution was long left out of the history of Atlantic revolutions, dismissed as a violent uprising of enslaved people without an ideological dimension.

Dubois’s book walks readers through the twists and turns of this decade-long revolution, highlighting the intellectual agency of enslaved and freed people and the ideological consequences of this transformative event.

The Haitian Revolution is a notoriously complicated event, but I found that this book provided coherence and a compelling analysis of the effects of this crucial moment in the history of democracy and movement for human rights. And it was a gripping read at that.

By Laurent Dubois,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Avengers of the New World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first and only successful slave revolution in the Americas began in 1791 when thousands of brutally exploited slaves rose up against their masters on Saint-Domingue, the most profitable colony in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Within a few years, the slave insurgents forced the French administrators of the colony to emancipate them, a decision ratified by revolutionary Paris in 1794. This victory was a stunning challenge to the order of master/slave relations throughout the Americas, including the southern United States, reinforcing the most fervent hopes of slaves and the worst fears of masters.

But, peace eluded Saint-Domingue as British and…


Book cover of The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below

Christian Høgsbjerg Author Of Toussaint Louverture: A Black Jacobin in the Age of Revolutions

From my list on Toussaint Louverture and his impact on the world.

Who am I?

When we are thinking of the origins or roots of contemporary movements like #BlackLivesMatter, the Haitian Revolution represents a foundational, inspirational moment but one of also wider world-historical impact and importance – ‘the only successful slave revolt in history’ – and so as the most outstanding leader to emerge during that revolutionary upheaval Toussaint Louverture will always retain relevance and iconic significance. I've had an interest in Toussaint and the Haitian Revolution ever since undertaking my doctorate on how the black Trinidadian revolutionary historian C.L.R. James came to write his classic history of the Haitian Revolution. I currently teach history, including the history of Atlantic slavery and abolition, in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Brighton. 

Christian's book list on Toussaint Louverture and his impact on the world

Christian Høgsbjerg Why did Christian love this book?

Carolyn Fick was a doctoral student of C.L.R. James and George Rudé during the 1970s in Montreal, Canada, and in keeping with the turn of social history towards ‘history from below’ in that decade, produced a pioneering study in 1990 of the wider contested forms of revolutionary leadership beyond Toussaint Louverture during the Haitian Revolution, particularly in the South of what was then French colonial Saint Domingue. Carolyn remains a leading historian of the Haitian Revolution, and her work helps us better understand the class dynamics of the revolutionary process as it unfolded, and the tragedy of Toussaint as he developed into a representative of a new land-owning ruling class in Saint Domingue, even as he continued to strike powerful blows at European slave-owning colonial powers.  

By Carolyn E. Fick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of Haiti as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1789 the French colony of Saint Domingue was the wealthiest and most flourishing of the Caribbean slave colonies, its economy based on the forced labor of more than half a million black slaves raided from their African homelands. The revolt of this underclass in 1791-the only successful slave rebellion in history-gained the slaves their freedom and set in motion the colony's struggle for independence as the black republic of Haiti.

In this pioneering study, Carolyn E. Fick argues that the repressed and uneducated slaves were the principal architects both of their own freedom and of the successful movement toward…


Book cover of The Kingdom of This World

Lois Parkinson Zamora Author Of Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community

From my list on capturing the magic of magical realism.

Who am I?

I fell in love with Latin American literature when I was in the Peace Corps in the late 1960s in the highlands of Colombia. My husband and I were in a program of rural community development. The Colombian writer, Gabriel García Márquez, published his now-famous novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, while we were there (in 1967), and when I read it, I said, “This is the kind of fiction that I want to keep on reading and studying forever!” And so I have. I am on the faculty of the University of Houston, where I teach Latin American literature and history, including a course on Magical Realism. 

Lois' book list on capturing the magic of magical realism

Lois Parkinson Zamora Why did Lois love this book?

The Kingdom of this World is written by a Cuban writer and pits two worldviews against each other—the Afro-Haitian and the French.

This short novel is set at the end of the eighteenth century in Haiti, and the French are trying to maintain control of their colonies in the Caribbean. We see these different world views from both points of view so that the same event can have disastrously different meanings.

We follow the Haitian slave, Ti Noel, who reports on “magical” happenings that stem from his Haitian belief in shape-shifting: men can take flight if necessary, or transform themselves into animals or insects, or otherwise do what the French consider “magic” and the Haitians consider normal. We see events from the French point of view of Pauline Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon and wife of a French general who was sent to Haiti to put down the slave revolt. 

As…

By Alejo Carpentier, Pablo Medina (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Kingdom of This World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kingdom of this World (57) by Carpentier, Alejo [Paperback (2006)]


Book cover of Toussaint L'Ouverture: A Biography and Autobiography

Keith Madsen Author Of The Sons and Daughters of Toussaint

From my list on the life and history of Haiti.

Who am I?

From the time I heard of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed over 200,000 people, my heart was drawn to that country. From 2012 to 2017 I lead five mission trips to Cap Haitian, where we toured mission work, helped Haitians build an elementary school, and met so many of these beautiful people. I ate the great cooking of “Mama Jo” who, along with her husband, hosted us. I gave “horsey” rides to children at a Port-au-Prince orphanage; and shared in prayer and singing with churches near Cap Haitian. In short, I fell in love with these people. How could I not write a novel of hope about them? 

Keith's book list on the life and history of Haiti

Keith Madsen Why did Keith love this book?

This is the definitive biography on Toussaint. First published in 1863, it clearly showed me why Toussaint L’Ouverture was one of the most admired world leaders of his time. They called him “the Black Napoleon!” Reading this book brought back to mind that I did a report on Haiti and Toussaint back when I was in junior high (“a long time ago in a universe far, far away!") Even at the time I was impressed by how much the Haitian Revolution influenced our own Civil War.  

By John Beard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Toussaint L'Ouverture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a reproduction of a classic text optimised for kindle devices. We have endeavoured to create this version as close to the original artefact as possible. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we believe they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.


Book cover of Blades of Freedom: A Tale of Haiti, Napoleon, and the Louisiana Purchase

Marissa Moss Author Of Talia's Codebook for Mathletes

From my list on graphic stand outs from the very crowded pack.

Who am I?

I'm best known for the Amelia's Notebook series which are based on the notebooks I kept as a kid. I started using the notebook format because that's how I thought—sometimes in words, sometimes in pictures. But this was a long time ago, in the 90s when graphic novels weren't a common format. When I submitted Amelia to publishers, they rejected it, saying it wasn't a picture book, it wasn't a novel, so how would librarians know where to shelve it? A small press that didn't know any better took a chance and published Amelia's Notebook. It became a big bestseller, with more than 20 books to follow and started a new trend in kid's books.

Marissa's book list on graphic stand outs from the very crowded pack

Marissa Moss Why did Marissa love this book?

Nathan Hale picks historical episodes that you don't know about but should and presents them in this exciting adventure format.

Blades of Freedom is about how Napoleon Bonaparte was planning to invade America. If he'd landed the army he'd planned into Louisiana territory, we could all be speaking French now. But a small problem got in his way—a slave uprising in Haiti.

Could Haiti save America? Read the book to find out what happens!

By Nathan Hale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blades of Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

The 10th installment in the bestselling Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase (1803) is today seen as one of history's greatest bargains. But why did Napoleon Bonaparte sell this seemingly prosperous territory? At the time, France controlled Haiti, and there, slaves were used to harvest sugar. But in 1791, Toussaint Louverture led the largest slave uprising in human history, the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). Napoleon had originally wanted to use Louisiana for trade, but with Haiti out of his control, Napoleon's dream of making a French empire in…


Book cover of The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution

Christian Høgsbjerg Author Of Toussaint Louverture: A Black Jacobin in the Age of Revolutions

From my list on Toussaint Louverture and his impact on the world.

Who am I?

When we are thinking of the origins or roots of contemporary movements like #BlackLivesMatter, the Haitian Revolution represents a foundational, inspirational moment but one of also wider world-historical impact and importance – ‘the only successful slave revolt in history’ – and so as the most outstanding leader to emerge during that revolutionary upheaval Toussaint Louverture will always retain relevance and iconic significance. I've had an interest in Toussaint and the Haitian Revolution ever since undertaking my doctorate on how the black Trinidadian revolutionary historian C.L.R. James came to write his classic history of the Haitian Revolution. I currently teach history, including the history of Atlantic slavery and abolition, in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Brighton. 

Christian's book list on Toussaint Louverture and his impact on the world

Christian Høgsbjerg Why did Christian love this book?

This work was the first work I read about the Haitian Revolution as a student, and though published in 1938, The Black Jacobins is a classic of historical literature which still remains the best starting place for understanding Toussaint Louverture as a revolutionary leader and his place in history. Born in Trinidad, a Caribbean island with a legacy of slavery and so not entirely unlike Haiti itself, James as a black anti-colonialist became inspired by the Russian Revolution which represented a massive challenge to racism and imperialism. 

The Marxist theory of permanent revolution, outlined in Leon Trotsky’s own History of the Russian Revolution, helped James understand how the Haitian Revolution and the French Revolution were intrinsically intertwined throughout, and so how Jacobinism could inspire Toussaint, just as James himself had been inspired by Bolshevism. The Black Jacobins is a brilliant model of revolutionary history at its best, panoramic in…

By C.L.R. James,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Black Jacobins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1791, inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution, the slaves of San Domingo rose in revolt. Despite invasion by a series of British, Spanish and Napoleonic armies, their twelve-year struggle led to the creation of Haiti, the first independent black republic outside Africa. Only three years later, the British and Americans ended the Atlantic slave trade.

In this outstanding example of vivid, committed and empathetic historical analysis, C. L. R. James illuminates these epoch-making events. He explores the appalling economic realities of the Caribbean economy, the roots of the world's only successful slave revolt and the utterly extraordinary…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Haiti, the Haitian Revolution, and France?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Haiti, the Haitian Revolution, and France.

Haiti Explore 41 books about Haiti
The Haitian Revolution Explore 16 books about the Haitian Revolution
France Explore 858 books about France