James? That is a complex question, for indeed, Cyril Lionel Robert James is a complex and controversial figure. Some hail James as the Third World's most high profile writers since Frantz Fanon. He is best known as the author of The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, however, James also made significant contributions in sport criticism, Caribbean history, literary criticism, Pan African politics and Marxist theory. Many academics and political activists have attempted to do so, it is impossible to pinpoint any period of James' life as his true legacy, which lends itself to debate.For over half a century James was politically and literarily involved in several counties, to include, Trinidad, Britain, the United States, and Ghana. Any analysis of a revolutionary should begin with the thinker himself. Analyzing James from a materialist approach, understanding that ideas and theories don't just pop out of thin air, I will start with biographical details - with the historical context and the social movements effecting the thinker. The best evidence of a person's ideas may not necessarily be what they put down on paper. Actions often provide a better gauge than words of the importance a person attaches to a particular set of ideas: How did that person become who they are? James was ideally a Caribbean writer. James had to expatriate himself to reach an audience. His eclectic pursuits developed mainly in response to changing conditions in world politics and his personal situation. James mentions in an interview with Ken Ranchand:.
My father was a teacher, and there were teachers all around, his friends, they were working for the Government and their behaviour was within strictly limited areas. They weren't able to do anything out of place, there would be a little, ahh irregular fornication here and there and now and then a baby might appear, but even that they could manage, but their life was narrow, limited and very constricted according to certain principles and attitudes.