Social & Cultural History

Books about Slavery

    Lisa Kristine
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    Many think slavery ended with the demise of the trans-Atlantic trade, but sadly, that's far from true. An estimated thirty-six million live without dignity or rights and although slavery is illegal in every country, it continues to persist in all - as a crime against humanity. Lisa Kristine's indelible images seek to unify humanity and inform the viewer of the tangible humanness of individuals enslaved today. Lisa was invited to the Vatican as a witness to the signing of the Declaration to Eradicate Modern Day Slavery by 2020. When Pope Francis gathered twenty-five of the world's distinguished faith leaders the message was clear - slavery is not a political issue - it is a crime against humanity, against all people. Lisa's journey sheds light on the need for a global shift from dependence on slave labour, to fair trade labour systems available and active in many parts of the world today. It is not simply a story about slavery, but liberation. In order to create change, we must first visualise what is required to free those enslaved today. Bound to Freedom focuses on inspiring us to engage in the reality of slavery - to make us aware of the depth of its reach and insist we begin to look for solutions across faiths, communities, and the world. The call is for a renewed commitment to cooperate and to empower those enslaved to be seen.
    Laurence Fenton
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    In the summer of 1845, Frederick Douglass, the young runaway slave catapulted to fame by his incendiary autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, arrived in Liverpool for the start of a near-two-year tour of Britain and Ireland he always called one of the most transformative periods of his life. Laurence Fenton draws on a wide array of sources from both sides of the Atlantic and combines a unique insight into the early years of one of the great figures of the nineteenth-century world with rich profiles of the enormous personalities at the heart of the transatlantic anti-slavery movement. This vivid portrait of life in Victorian Britain is the first to fully explore the `liberating sojourn' that ended with Douglass gaining his freedom - paid for by British supporters - before returning to America as a celebrity and icon of international standing. It also follows his later life, through the American Civil War and afterwards. Douglass has been described as `the most influential African American of the nineteenth century'. He spoke and wrote on behalf of a variety of reform causes: women's rights, temperance, peace, land reform, free public education and the abolition of capital punishment. But he devoted most of his time, immense talent and boundless energy to ending slavery. On April 14, 1876, Douglass would deliver the keynote speech at the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington's Lincoln Park.
    James Walvin
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    The story of sugar, and of mankind's desire for sweetness in food and drink is a compelling, though confusing story. It is also an historical story. The story of mankind's love of sweetness - the need to consume honey, cane sugar, beet sugar and chemical sweeteners - has important historical origins. To take a simple example, two centuries ago, cane sugar was vital to the burgeoning European domestic and colonial economies. For all its recent origins, today's obesity epidemic - if that is what it is - did not emerge overnight, but instead evolved from a complexity of historical forces which stretch back centuries. We can only fully understand this modern problem, by coming to terms with its genesis and history: and we need to consider the historical relationship between society and sweetness over a long historical span. This book seeks to do just that: to tell the story of how the consumption of sugar - the addition of sugar to food and drink - became a fundamental and increasingly troublesome feature of modern life. Walvin's book is the heir to Sidney Mintz's Sweetness and Power, a brilliant sociological account, but now thirty years old. In addition, the problem of sugar, and the consequent intellectual and political debate about the role of sugar, has been totally transformed in the years since that book's publication.
    Nate Parker
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    This official tie-in to the highly acclaimed film, The Birth of a Nation, surveys the history and legacy of Nat Turner, the leader of one of the most renowned slave rebellions on American soil, while also exploring Turner's relevance to contemporary dialogues on race relations. Based on astounding events in American history, The Birth of a Nation is the epic story of one man championing the spirit of resistance as he leads a rough-and-tumble group into a revolt against injustice and slavery. Breathing new life into a story that has been rife with controversy and prejudice for over two centuries, the film follows the rise of the visionary Virginian slave, Nat Turner. Hired out by his owner to preach to and placate slaves on drought-plagued plantations, Turner eventually transforms into an inspired, impassioned, and fierce anti-slavery leader. The Birth of a Nation reframes the way we think about slavery and resistance as it explores the passion, determination, and faith that inspired Nat Turner to sacrifice everything for freedom.
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    Former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, in his own words Considered to be the most famous work written by a former slave, this memoir, first published in 1845 set the tone for the American abolitionist movement. Within four months of its publication, it had sold more than five thousand copies. The book not only describes Douglass' life as a slave, but it also reveals his tremendous journey to becoming a free man. This elegantly designed clothbound edition features an elastic closure and a new introduction.
    Sidney Blumenthal
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    The first in a sweeping, multi-volume history of Abraham Lincoln, from his obscure beginnings to his presidency, death, and the overthrow of his post-Civil War plan of reconciliation. From his youth as a voracious newspaper reader, Abraham Lincoln became a free thinker, reading Tom Paine, as well as Shakespeare and the Bible. In the "fascinating" (Booklist, starred review) A Self-Made Man, Sidney Blumenthal reveals how Lincoln's antislavery thinking began in his childhood in backwoods Kentucky and Indiana. Intensely ambitious, he held political aspirations from his earliest years. Yet he was a socially awkward suitor who had a nervous breakdown over his inability to deal with the opposite sex. His marriage to the upper class Mary Todd was crucial to his social aspirations and his political career. "The Lincoln of Blumenthal's pen is...a brave progressive facing racist assaults on his religion, ethnicity, and very legitimacy that echo the anti-Obama birther movement...Blumenthal takes the wily pol of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln and Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals and goes deeper, finding a Vulcan logic and House of Cards ruthlessness" (The Washingtonian). Based on prodigious research of Lincoln's record, and of the period and its main players, Blumenthal's robust biography reflects both Lincoln's time and the struggle that consumes our own political debate. This first volume traces Lincoln from his birth in 1809 through his education in the political arts, rise to the Congress, and fall into the wilderness from which he emerged as the man we recognize as Abraham Lincoln. " one can come away from reading A Self-Made Man...without eagerly anticipating the ensuing volumes." (Washington Monthly).
    Solomon Northup
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    Originally published in 1853, Twelve Years a Slave is a haunting portrayal of stolen freedom and brutal life on the sugar and cotton plantations of the Deep South. Landowner, carpenter, and skilled violinist Solomon Northup is living comfortably with his wife and children in Saratoga, New York, when two circus promoters offer him work as a traveling musician. They then drug and kidnap him, and Northup is sold into slavery and transported to Louisiana, spending twelve grueling years in captivity, at the whim of several ruthless slave owners. With its gripping and horrendous accounts of slave life in the Deep South, Solomon Northup's seminal memoir is now available as an elegantly designed clothbound edition with an elastic closure and a new introduction.
    Kevin Bales
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    Written by the world's leading experts and campaigners, Modern Slavery: A Beginner's Guide blends original research with shocking first-hand accounts from slaves themselves around the world to reveal the truth behind one of the worst humanitarian crises facing us today. Only a handful of slaves are reached and freed each year, but the authors offer hope for the future with a global blueprint that proposes to end slavery in our lifetime All royalties will go to Free the Slaves.
    Edward E. Baptist
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    Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution,the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward E. Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told , the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history. Winner of the 2015 Avery O. Craven Prize from the Organization of American HistoriansWinner of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize Bloomberg View Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2014 Daily Beast Best Nonfiction Books of 2014
    Lydia Cacho
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    Illegal, inhuman, and impervious to recession, there is one trade that continues to thrive, just out of sight. The international sex trade criss-crosses the entire globe, a sinister network made up of criminal masterminds, local handlers, corrupt policemen, wilfully blind politicians, eager consumers, and countless exploited women and children. In this ground-breaking work of investigative reporting, the celebrated journalist Lydia Cacho follows the trail of the traffickers and their victims from Mexico to Turkey, Thailand to Iraq, Georgia to the UK, to expose the trade's hidden links with the tourist industry, internet pornography, drugs and arms smuggling, the selling of body organs, money laundering, and even terrorism. Shocking and sobering, Slavery Inc. is an exceptional book, both for the colossal scope of its enquiry, and for the tenacious bravery with which Cacho pursues the truth.
    Adam Hochschild
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    WINNER OF THE 1999 DUFF COOPER PRIZE. 'Brilliant .. this book must be read and re-read' Neal Ascherson'. 'A hundred years ago, enlightened people in the western world were outraged by a holocaust in Africa which left millions dead. Denunciations thundered from speaker's platforms around the US and Europe. One open letter to The Times was signed by 11 peers, 19 bishops and 75 MPs. Viscount Grey, Britain's foreign secretary, declared that no overseas issue had so intensely aroused the British public for 30 years. Conan Doyle wrote a pamphlet on the Congo atrocities which sold 25,000 copies in the first week alone. Yet today not one person in a thousand could say what the fuss was all about, unless, of course, they have read this amazing book.' Tariq Ali, Financial Times 'Fascinating ...brilliant and gripping' Mail on Sunday 'An exemplary piece of history writing: urgent, vivid and compelling' Literary Review
    Mary Prince
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    The History of Mary Prince (1831) was the first narrative of a black woman to be published in Britain. It describes Prince's sufferings as a slave in Bermuda, Turks Island and Antigua, and her eventual arrival in London with her brutal owner Mr Wood in 1828. Prince escaped from him and sought assistance from the Anti-Slavery Society, where she dictated her remarkable story to Susanna Strickland (later Moodie). A moving and graphic document, The History drew attention to the continuation of slavery in the Caribbean, despite an 1807 Act of Parliament officially ending the slave trade. It inspired two libel actions and ran into three editions in the year of its publication. This powerful rallying cry for emancipation remains an extraordinary testament to Prince's ill-treatment, suffering and survival.
    Marcus Rediker
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    The Fearless Benjamin Lay chronicles the transatlantic life and times of a singular and astonishing man-a Quaker dwarf who became one of the first white people ever to demand the total, unconditional emancipation of all enslaved Africans around the world. He performed public guerrilla theatre to shame slave masters, insisting that human bondage violated the fundamental principles of Christianity. He wrote a fiery, controversial book against bondage that Benjamin Franklin published in 1738. He lived in a cave, made his own clothes, refused to consume anything produced by slave labour, championed animal rights, and embraced vegetarianism. He acted on his ideals to create a new, practical, revolutionary way of life.
    Kevin Belmonte
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    Dramatized in the major motion picture Amazing Grace, the story of William Wilberforce is the remarkable account of how one man's vision, courage, and relentless pursuit of justice brought freedom to thousands and changed the course of history. "That the greatest and most successful reformer in all history is almost unknown today is a crying shame. Kevin Belmonte puts this right with his inspiring study of an inspiring life."-Dr. Os Guinness, author of Unspeakable: Facing Up to the Challenge of Evil "An excellently researched and insightfully written biography ... I applaud its sound scholarship and commend its perceptive insights into a great life."-Brian Sibley, author of C. S. Lewis: Through the Shadowlands William Wilberforce: A Hero for Humanity is the definitive biography of the English statesman who overcame incredible odds to bring about the end of slavery and slave trade. Called "the wittiest man in England" by philosopher and novelist Madame de Stael, praised by Abraham Lincoln, and renowned for his oratorical genius, Wilberforce worked tirelessly to accomplish his goal. Whether you are an avid student of history, a pupil of prominent leaders of the past, or simply someone who reads for pleasure, you will love award-winning biographer Kevin Belmonte's vivid account of the life of William Wilberforce.
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    "A masterpiece...[Douglass] was not only self-educated, with a love of language which should still be an inspiration; he was also self-created." [New York Times]. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Maryland in 1818. After his escape in 1838 he became an ardent abolitionist, and his autobiography was an instant bestseller upon publication in 1845. In it he describes with harrowing honesty his life as a slave - the cruelty he suffered at the hands of plantation owners; his struggles to educate himself in a world where slaves are deliberately kept ignorant; and ultimately, his fight for his right to freedom. A passionately written, intelligent and highly emotive indictment of slavery, his principle preoccupation was that slavery could be eradicated only through education. This text was key in helping to secure its eventual abolition.
    Robin Blackburn
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    For over three centuries, slavery in the Americas fuelled the growth of capitalism. The stirrings of a revolutionary age in the late eighteenth century challenged this "peculiar institution" and set the scene for great acts of emancipation in Haiti in 1804, in the United States in the 1860s, and Brazil in the 1880s. Blackburn argues that the anti-slavery movement helped forge the political and social ideals we live by today.
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    'I was born in Tuckahoe I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it. By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant.' Thus begins the autobiography of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) who was born into slavery in Maryland and after his escape to Massachusetts in 1838 became an ardent abolitionist and campaigner for women's rights. His Narrative, which became an instant bestseller on publication in 1845, describes his life as a slave, the cruelty he suffered at the hands of his masters, his struggle to educate himself and his fight for freedom. Passionately written, often using striking biblical imagery, the Narrative came to assume epic proportions as a founding anti-slavery text in which Douglass carefully crafted both his life story and his persona. This new edition examines Douglass, the man and the myth, his complex relationship with women and the enduring power of his book. It includes extracts from Douglass's primary sources and examples of his writing on women's rights. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
    James Walvin
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    As we approach the bicentenary of the abolition of the Atlantic trade, Walvin has selected the historical texts that recreate the mindset that made such a savage institution possible - morally acceptable even. Setting these historical documents against Walvin's own incisive historical narrative, the two layers of this extraordinary, definitive account of the Atlantic slave trade enable us to understand the rise and fall of one of the most shameful chapters in British history, the repercussions of which the modern world is still living with.
    WEB Du Bois
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    The distinguished American civil rights leader, W. E. B. Du Bois first published these fiery essays, sketches, and poems individually nearly 80 years ago in the Atlantic, the Journal of Race Development, and other periodicals. Part essay, part autobiography, Darkwater explicitly addresses significant issues, such as the oppression of women and Eurocentric standards of beauty, the historical rise of the idea of whiteness, and the abridgement of democracy along race, class, and gender lines. Reflecting the author's ideas as a politician, historian, and artist, this volume has long moved and inspired readers with its militant cry for social, political, and economic reforms for black Americans.
    Rebecca Shumway
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    The history of Ghana attracts popular interest out of proportion to its small size and marginal importance to the global economy. Ghana is the land of Kwame Nkrumah and the Pan-Africanist movement of the 1960s; it has been a temporary home to famous African Americans like W. E. B. DuBois and Maya Angelou; and its Asante Kingdom and signature kente cloth-global symbols of African culture and pride-are well known. Ghana also attracts a continuous flow of international tourists because of two historical sites that are among the most notorious monuments of the transatlantic slave trade: Cape Coast and Elmina Castles. These looming structures are a vivid reminder of the horrific trade that gave birth to the black population of the Americas. The Fante and the Transatlantic Slave Trade explores the fascinating history of the transatlantic slave trade on Ghana's coast between 1700 and 1807. Here author Rebecca Shumway brings to life the survival experiences of southern Ghanaians as they became both victims of continuous violence and successful brokers of enslaved human beings. The era of the slave trade gave birth to a new culture in this part of West Africa, just as it was giving birth to new cultures across the Americas. The Fante and the Transatlantic Slave Trade pushes Asante scholarship to the forefront of African diaspora and Atlantic World studies by showing the integral role of Fante middlemen and transatlantic trade in the development of the Asante economy prior to 1807. Rebecca Shumway is assistant professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh.
    Felix Brahm
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    Slavery Hinterland explores a neglected aspect of transatlantic slavery: the implication of a continental European hinterland. It focuses on historical actors in territories that were not directly involved in the traffic in Africans but linked in various ways with the transatlantic slave business, the plantation economies that it fed and the consequences of its abolition. The volume unearths material entanglements of the Continental and Atlantic economies and also proposes a new agenda for the historical study of the relationship between business and morality. Contributors from the US, Britain and continental Europe examine the ways in which the slave economy touched on individual lives and economic developments in German-speaking Europe, Switzerland, Denmark and Italy. They reveal how these 'hinterlands' served as suppliers of investment, labour and trade goods for the slave trade and of materials for the plantation economies, and how involvement in trade networks contributed in turn to key economic developments in the 'hinterlands'. The chapters range in time from the first, short-lived attempt at establishing a German slave-trading operation in the 1680s to the involvement of textile manufacturers in transatlantic trade in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. A key theme of the volume is the question of conscience, or awareness of being morally implicated in an immoral enterprise. Evidence for subjective understandings of the moral challenge of slavery is found in individual actions and statements and also in post-abolition colonisation and missionary projects. FELIX BRAHM is Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in London. EVE ROSENHAFT is Professor of German Historical Studies, University of Liverpool. CONTRIBUTORS: Felix Brahm, Peter Haenger, Catherine Hall, Daniel P. Hopkins, Craig Koslofsky, Sarah Lentz, Rebekka von Mallinckrodt, Anne Sophie Overkamp, Alexandra Robinson, Eve Rosenhaft, Anka Steffen, Klaus Weber, Roberto Zaugg
    Yasin Kakande
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    A stark expose of the enslavement, trafficking, sexual starvation and general abuse of workers in the Gulf Arab Region.
    Charles Forsdick
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    'In overthrowing me, you have done no more than cut down the trunk of the tree of liberty - it will spring back from the roots, for they are numerous and deep.' - Toussaint Louverture The leader of the only successful slave revolt in history, Toussaint Louverture is seen by many to be one of the greatest anti-imperialist fighters who ever lived. Born into slavery on a Caribbean plantation, he was able to break from his bondage to lead an army of freed African slaves to victory against the professional armies of France, Spain and Britain in the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804. In this biography, Louverture's fascinating life is explored through the prism of his radical politics. It champions this 'black Robespierre' whose revolutionary legacy had inspired people and movements in the two centuries since his death. For anyone interested in the roots of modern-day resistance movements and black political radicalism, Louverture's extraordinary life provides the perfect starting point.
    Solomon Northup
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    The shocking first-hand account of one man's remarkable fight for freedom; now an award-winning motion picture. 'Why had I not died in my young years - before God had given me children to love and live for? What unhappiness and suffering and sorrow it would have prevented. I sighed for liberty; but the bondsman's chain was round me, and could not be shaken off.' 1841: Solomon Northup is a successful violinist when he is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Taken from his family in New York State - with no hope of ever seeing them again - and forced to work on the cotton plantations in the Deep South, he spends the next twelve years in captivity until his eventual escape in 1853. First published in 1853, this extraordinary true story proved to be a powerful voice in the debate over slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. It is a true-life testament of one man's courage and conviction in the face of unfathomable injustice and brutality: its influence on the course of American history cannot be overstated.