A long-overdue critical appreciation of the West Indian historian and political activist who played a towering role in the cause of Pan-Africanism in the twentieth century. Born in Trinidad in 1901, Cyril Lionel Robert James was a precocious polymath all his life. By the time he was a teenager and already a certified teacher, he had embarked on a lifelong advocacy for the Trinidadian oppressed. He embraced Marxism while living in England during the 1930s, during which time he published, among other works, The Case for West Indian Self Government and his masterpiece, The Black Jacobins. James lived in the United States from 1939 until he was expelled during the McCarthy terror for his political activities. Thereafter he divided his time between London and Trinidad (where he served as Secretary of the West Indies Federal Labor Party) and, until his death in 1989, wrote works of both fiction and nonfiction that would profoundly influence the Black Power movement in the United States and independence movements in Africa and the West Indies. Farrukh Dhondy knew James personally and was given access to his papers. The result is a biography that is a revelation of the life and work of this legendary intellect and revolutionary.