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"Toussaint Louverture's life was one of hardship, triumph, and contradiction. It began on Saint-Domingue, the richest colony in the Western Hemisphere, where he witnessed first-hand the torture of the enslaved population. Yet he managed to earn his freedom and establish himself as a small-scale planter. He even purchased slaves of his own. In Toussaint Louverture, Philippe Girard tells the incredible tale of how Louverture transformed himself from lowly freedman to revolutionary hero. Working as a coachman for his wealthy, white owners, Louverture traveled across Saint-Domingue, building a network among slaves and free blacks that would form the basis of the slave revolt he engineered in 1791. What followed was a decade of unprecedented bloodletting: about 200,000 people in the colony of Saint-Domingue were killed in battle or murdered. By 1801, Louverture was general and governor of the colony, now called Haiti. But his lifelong quest to be accepted as a member of the French colonial elite ended in despair: in 1802, on Napoleon's orders, he was exiled to France, where he spent the last year of his life in a prison cell. Ten years in the making, Toussaint Louverture is based on extensive archival research in France, Britain, Spain, the United States, and the Caribbean. The book contains many revelations about Louverture's life, from a previously unknown first marriage to the circumstances of his manumission, his exact role in the outbreak of the 1791 Haitian slave revolt, his actions as governor of France's richest colony, and the tragic nature of his death."--Provided by publisher.