Madison Smartt Bell had already made a good writing career probing the dark corners and sinister sides of contemporary American culture when he busted out with All Souls' Rising, a publishing sensation in the mid-90s. This epic historical novel (the first in a trilogy) about the slave rebellion in Haiti that ultimately brought an end to white rule propelled Bell into the ranks of "America's greatest living writers." I don't know what took me so long to get around to reading this myself, but now that I have I'm a HUGE fan... though I ought to give fair warning that once you get started you won't be able to put it down, and this book will literally haunt your dreams. —Recommended by Elaine, City Lights Books
In this first installment of his epic Haitian trilogy, Madison Smartt Bell brings to life a decisive moment in the history of race, class, and colonialism. The slave uprising in Haiti was a momentous contribution to the tide of revolution that swept over the Western world at the end of the 1700s. A brutal rebellion that strove to overturn a vicious system of slavery, the uprising successfully transformed Haiti from a European colony to the world's first Black republic. From the center of this horrific maelstrom, the heroic figure of Toussaint Louverture–a loyal, literate slave and both a devout Catholic and Vodouisant–emerges as the man who will take the merciless fires of violence and vengeance and forge a revolutionary war fueled by liberty and equality.
Bell assembles a kaleidoscopic portrait of this seminal movement through a tableau of characters that encompass black, white, male, female, rich, poor, free and enslaved. Pulsing with brilliant detail, All Soul's Rising provides a visceral sense of the pain, terror, confusion, and triumph of revolution.