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  • John Murray

The Slave Ship

Marcus Rediker

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, General & world history, Slavery & abolition of slavery

The human drama of the slave trade told from a new perspective, from the decks of the slave ship.

The slave ship was the instrument of history's greatest forced migration and a key to the origins and growth of global capitalism, yet much of its history remains unknown. Marcus Rediker uncovers the extraordinary human drama that played out on this world-changing vessel. Drawing on thirty years of maritime research, he demonstrates the truth of W.E.B DuBoiss observation: the slave trade was the most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history.

The Slave Ship focuses on the so-called golden age of the slave trade, the period of 1700-1808, when more than six million people were transported out of Africa, most of them on British and American ships, across the Atlantic, to slave on New World plantations. Marcus Rediker tells poignant tales of life, death and terror as he captures the shipboard drama of brutal discipline and fierce resistance. He reconstructs the lives of individuals, such as John Newton, James Field Stanfield and Olaudah Equiano, and the collective experience of captains, sailors and slaves.

Mindful of the haunting legacies of race, class and slavery, Marcus Rediker offers a vivid and unforgettable portrait of the ghost ship of our modern consciousness.

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Praise for The Slave Ship

  • A shockingly vivid work . . . from a gifted chronicler of history's lower decks, at home in the unruly Atlantic world of pirates, slavers, sailors, runaways and rebels - Boyd Tonkin, Independent

  • Enlightening and moving . . . Rediker comes closer than anyone so far to recreating the horrifying social reality of the Atlantic slave ship . . . If anyone doubts the reality of that human story, they only need to read Rediker's book - James Walvin, BBC History Magazine

  • 'Meticulously researched . . . a terrible tale told here with great skill, clarity and compassion' Siobhan Murphy, Metro - Siobhan Murphy, Metro

  • The slave ship is a powerful focus for a profound drama - Iain Finlayson, The Times

  • A brilliantly organised and compelling study of the Atlantic slave trade . . . A truly magnificent book - Sunday Telegraph

  • The Slave Ship provides eloquent testimony to the high human drama of Atlantic 'trafficking'; the greed of the few and the manifold misery of the many that was endured in the trivial cause of sweetness - Ian Thomson, Spectator

  • Rediker has made magnificent use of archival data; his probing, compassionate eye turns up numerous finds that other people who've written on the subject, myself included, have missed - Adam Hochschild, International Herald Tribune

  • Rediker has produced a gripping study of one aspect of a great evil - Sunday Herald

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Marcus Rediker

Marcus Rediker holds a Ph.D in history from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. One of Americas foremost maritime and Atlantic historians, he has held several fellowships and lectured around the world. He is author of several books, including (with Peter Linebaugh) the prize-winning The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic.

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