CHRISTOPHE, KING OF HAITI by Hubert Cole

CHRISTOPHE, KING OF HAITI

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KIRKUS REVIEW

With one exception, the publisher's own description of this book is correct. They set it forth as ""the story of the rise and fall of the New World's first crowned king, Henry Christophe of Haiti"" who was born as a freeman on the British island of Grenada in 1767 and rose to power as a military figure in revolution-torn French Haiti. Christophe is associated through discipleship with the ""stern idealist"" Toussaint L'Ouverture and the ""violent revolutionary"" Dessalines. ""Through incredible storm and stress (and, it might be added, a good many documented scenes of nothing-left-to-the imagination atrocity) he achieved independence and created a French-speaking Negro kingdom in the northern part of the divided island. He...instituted a new order of nobility among his followers, and began to introduce education, and order in the land--only to die by his own hand in 1820 when bad health and a new revolt of his troops undermined his authority...."" The exception to this (a minor one) is the deemphasis which is placed on Christophe: two thirds of the book is devoted to the stresses and strains the Negroes faced in creating the nation and only one third to Christophe's rule. But the total effect of this history is excellent: the style is loose-limbed, the information clearly put, and the story itself the more exciting because it is real.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1967
Publisher: Viking