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Michael Anft… Bell compels our interest by straightforwardly examining the spirit of freedom embodied by Toussaint and the blacks and whites who entertained his notion of it. Without the use of literary gimmicks -- he doesn't rely on magical realism or lyrical pyrotechnics wrought from the island's fascination with spirits and fate -- the author artfully takes us to the end of a fascinating journey. Summing it all up, Riau says, "There is more of what we don't see than what we do." But for most of a decade, Bell has dared to show us as much as he can, in often astonishing and brutal detail. It's hard to imagine that anyone could have chronicled Haiti and the travails of Toussaint with an eye more unblinking or with a hand so steady.
— The Washington Post