First published in 1845, Narrativeof the Life of Frederick Douglass is an eye-opening depiction of American slavery. Part autobiography, part human-rights treatise, it describes the everyday horrors inflicted on captive laborers, as well as the strength and courage needed to survive.
Born into slavery on a Maryland plantation in 1818, Frederick Douglass spent years secretly teaching himself to read and write—a crime for which he risked life and limb. After two failed escapes, Douglass finally, blessedly boarded a train in 1838 that would eventually lead him to New York City, and freedom.
Few books have done more to change America’s notion of African Americans than this seminal work. Beyond its historical and social relevancy, it is admired today for its gripping stories, intensity of spirit, and heartfelt humanity.
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From the first slaves arriving in Jamestown in 1619, the cotton fields in the Southern States and shipbuilding in New England, to the slaves who laid down their lives in war so that Americans could be free, American Slavery in an Hour covers the breadth of the subject without sacrificing important historical and cultural details.
An important and dark time in Black – and American – history, American Slavery in an Hour will explain the key facts and give you a clear overview of this much discussed period of history, as well as its legacy in modern America.
Know your stuff: read the history of American Slavery in just one hour.
The American Civil War started when eleven southern ‘slave’ states declared their independence from the United States of America. Abraham Lincoln’s Republican government were strongly against slavery and fought to abolish it and keep the country united.
The American Civil War: History in an Hour gives a concise and authoritative overview of these four years of bloody and devastating warfare to help you understand how the Civil War shaped America today and changed the history of slavery forever.
Know your stuff: read concise history of the tumultuous struggle between the Confederates and the Union in just one hour.
Encompassing everything from immigration to civil war, emancipation, slavery and migration, Black History in an Hour gives you a neat overview of this vast and fascinating subject.
This e-book is a superb introduction to the long and varied history of African Americans.
Know your stuff: read about Black History in just one hour.
“A necessary work . . . [Reséndez’s] reportage will likely surprise you.”—NPR
“One of the most profound contributions to North American history.”—Los Angeles Times
Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as Andrés Reséndez illuminates in his myth-shattering The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. There was no abolitionist movement to protect the tens of thousands of Natives who were kidnapped and enslaved by the conquistadors. Reséndez builds the incisive case that it was mass slavery—more than epidemics—that decimated Indian populations across North America. Through riveting new evidence, including testimonies of courageous priests, rapacious merchants, and Indian captives, The Other Slavery reveals nothing less than a key missing piece of American history. For over two centuries we have fought over, abolished, and tried to come to grips with African American slavery. It is time for the West to confront an entirely separate, equally devastating enslavement we have long failed truly to see.
“Beautifully written . . . A tour de force.”—Chronicle of Higher Education
In Forever Free, Eric Foner overturns numerous assumptions growing out of the traditional understanding of the period, which is based almost exclusively on white sources and shaped by (often unconscious) racism. He presents the period as a time of determination, especially on the part of recently emancipated black Americans, to put into effect the principles of equal rights and citizenship for all.
Drawing on a wide range of long-neglected documents, he places a new emphasis on the centrality of the black experience to an understanding of the era. We see African Americans as active agents in overthrowing slavery, in helping win the Civil War, and–even more actively–in shaping Reconstruction and creating a legacy long obscured and misunderstood. Foner makes clear how, by war’s end, freed slaves in the South built on networks of church and family in order to exercise their right of suffrage as well as gain access to education, land, and employment.
He shows us that the birth of the Ku Klux Klan and renewed acts of racial violence were retaliation for the progress made by blacks soon after the war. He refutes lingering misconceptions about Reconstruction, including the attribution of its ills to corrupt African American politicians and “carpetbaggers,” and connects it to the movements for civil rights and racial justice.
Joshua Brown’s illustrated commentary on the era’s graphic art and photographs complements the narrative. He offers a unique portrait of how Americans envisioned their world and time.
Forever Free is an essential contribution to our understanding of the events that fundamentally reshaped American life after the Civil War–a persuasive reading of history that transforms our sense of the era from a time of failure and despair to a threshold of hope and achievement.
Mende was sold to a wealthy Arab family who lived in Sudan's capital city, Khartoum. So began her dark years of enslavement. Her Arab owners called her "Yebit," or "black slave." She called them "master." She was subjected to appalling physical, sexual, and mental abuse. She slept in a shed and ate the family leftovers like a dog. She had no rights, no freedom, and no life of her own.
Normally, Mende's story never would have come to light. But seven years after she was seized and sold into slavery, she was sent to work for another master—a diplomat working in the United Kingdom. In London, she managed to make contact with other Sudanese, who took pity on her. In September 2000, she made a dramatic break for freedom.
Slave is a story almost beyond belief. It depicts the strength and dignity of the Nuba tribe. It recounts the savage way in which the Nuba and their ancient culture are being destroyed by a secret modern-day trade in slaves. Most of all, it is a remarkable testimony to one young woman's unbreakable spirit and tremendous courage.
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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Based on hitherto unexamined sources: interviews with ex-slaves, diaries and accounts by former slaveholders, this "rich and admirably written book" (Eugene Genovese, The New York Times Book Review) aims to show how, during the Civil War and after Emancipation, blacks and whites interacted in ways that dramatized not only their mutual dependency, but the ambiguities and tensions that had always been latent in "the peculiar institution."
1. "The Faithful Slave"
2. Black Liberators
3. Kingdom Comin'
4. Slaves No More
5. How Free is Free?
6. The Feel of Freedom: Moving About
7. Back to Work: The Old Compulsions
8. Back to Work: The New Dependency
9. The Gospel and the Primer
10. Becoming a People
1. A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is a memoir and treatise on abolition written by former slave, Frederick Douglass. The text, first published in 1845, describes the events of his life and encompasses eleven chapters that recount Douglass' life as a slave and his ambition to become a free man. It is considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century in the United States.
2. The Heroic Slave, a heartwarming Narrative of the Adventures of Madison Washington, in Pursuit of Liberty is a short piece of fiction written by famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The novella, published in 1852, was Douglass' first and only published work of fiction.
3. My Bondage and My Freedom is an autobiographical slave narrative written by Douglass and published in 1855. The book describes in greater detail his transition from bondage to liberty.
4. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass is Frederick Douglass' third autobiography, published in 1881 and revised in 1892. Because of the emancipation of American slaves during and following the American Civil War, Douglas gave more details about his life as a slave and his escape from slavery in this volume than he could in his two previous autobiographies.
5. My Escape from Slavery was published in 1881 in The Century Illustrated Magazine. His fully revised autobiography was published as Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, also in 1881. In this book Douglass describes in vivid detail his escape by train from Maryland, where he was legally a slave, north to New York City.
6. Self-Made Men is a famous lecture (1895). In this speech he gives his own definition of the self-made man and explains what he thinks are the means to become such a man.
7. The Speeches & Writings section contains 6 seminal texts: What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? (1852) - Reconstruction (1866) - An Appeal to Congress for Impartial Suffrage (1867) - Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln (1876) - The Color Line (1881) and The Future of the Colored Race (1886)
Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) was an African-American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing.
May, 1986: Selling his mother's eggs and peanuts near his village in southern Sudan, seven year old Francis Bok's life was shattered when Arab raiders on horseback, armed with rifles and long knives, burst into the quiet marketplace, murdering men and women and gathering the young children into a group. Strapped to horses and donkeys, Francis and others were taken north, into lives of slavery under wealthy Muslim farmers.
For ten years, Francis lived alone in a shed near the goats and cattle that were his responsibility. Fed with scraps from the table, slowly learning bits of an unfamiliar language and religion, the boy had almost no human contact other than his captor's family. After two failed attempts to escape-each bringing severe beatings and death threats-Francis finally escaped at age seventeen, a dramatic breakaway on foot that was his final chance. Yet his slavery did not end there, for even as he made his way toward the capital city of Khartoum, others sought to deprive him of his freedom. Determined to avoid that fate and discover what had happened to his family on that terrible day in 1986, the teenager persevered through prison and refugee camps for three more years, winning the attention of United Nations officials and being granted passage to America.
Now a student and an anti-slavery activist, Francis Bok has made it his life mission to combat world slavery. His is the first voice to speak for an estimated twenty seven million people held against their will in nearly every nation, including our own. Escape from Slavery is at once a riveting adventure, a story of desperation and triumph, and a window revealing a world that few have survived to tell.
A leading expert on modern-day slavery, Kevin Bales has traveled to some of the world’s most dangerous places documenting and battling human trafficking. In the course of his reporting, Bales began to notice a pattern emerging: Where slavery existed, so did massive, unchecked environmental destruction. But why?
Bales set off to find the answer in a fascinating and moving journey that took him into the lives of modern-day slaves and along a supply chain that leads directly to the cellphones in our pockets. What he discovered is that even as it destroys individuals, families, and communities, new forms of slavery that proliferate in the world’s lawless zones also pose a grave threat to the environment. Simply put, modern-day slavery is destroying the planet.
The product of seven years of travel and research, Blood and Earth brings us dramatic stories from the world’s most beautiful and tragic places, the environmental and human-rights hotspots where this crisis is concentrated. But it also tells the stories of some of the most common products we all consume—from computers to shrimp to jewelry—whose origins are found in these same places.
Blood and Earth calls on us to recognize the grievous harm we have done to one another, put an end to it, and recommit to repairing the world. This is a clear-eyed and inspiring book that suggests how we can begin the work of healing humanity and the planet we share.
Praise for Blood and Earth
“A heart-wrenching narrative . . . Weaving together interviews, history, and statistics, the author shines a light on how the poverty, chaos, wars, and government corruption create the perfect storm where slavery flourishes and environmental destruction follows. . . . A clear-eyed account of man’s inhumanity to man and Earth. Read it to get informed, and then take action.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[An] exposé of the global economy’s ‘deadly dance’ between slavery and environmental disaster . . . Based on extensive travels through eastern Congo’s mineral mines, Bangladeshi fisheries, Ghanian gold mines, and Brazilian forests, Bales reveals the appalling truth in graphic detail. . . . Readers will be deeply disturbed to learn how the links connecting slavery, environmental issues, and modern convenience are forged.”—Publishers Weekly
“This well-researched and vivid book studies the connection between slavery and environmental destruction, and what it will take to end both.”—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“This is a remarkable book, demonstrating once more the deep links between the ongoing degradation of the planet and the ongoing degradation of its most vulnerable people. It’s a bracing reminder that a mentality that allows throwaway people also allows a throwaway earth.”—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
From the Hardcover edition.
“The total number of slaves imported is not known. It is estimated that nearly 900,000 came to America in the 16th Century, 2.75 million in the 17th Century, 7 million in the 18th, and over 4 million in the 19th – perhaps 15 million in total. Probably every slave imported represented, on average, five corpses in Africa or on the high seas. The American slave trade, therefore, meant the elimination of at least 60 million Africans from their fatherland.”
The Black Holocaust For Beginners – part indisputably documented chronicle, part passionately engaging narrative, puts the tragic event in plain sight where it belongs! The long overdue book answers all of your questions, sensitively and in great depth.
More than any other scholar, Eric Foner has influenced our understanding of America's history. Now, making brilliant use of extraordinary evidence, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once again reconfigures the national saga of American slavery and freedom.
A deeply entrenched institution, slavery lived on legally and commercially even in the northern states that had abolished it after the American Revolution. Slaves could be found in the streets of New York well after abolition, traveling with owners doing business with the city's major banks, merchants, and manufacturers. New York was also home to the North’s largest free black community, making it a magnet for fugitive slaves seeking refuge. Slave catchers and gangs of kidnappers roamed the city, seizing free blacks, often children, and sending them south to slavery.
To protect fugitives and fight kidnappings, the city's free blacks worked with white abolitionists to organize the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835. In the 1840s vigilance committees proliferated throughout the North and began collaborating to dispatch fugitive slaves from the upper South, Washington, and Baltimore, through Philadelphia and New York, to Albany, Syracuse, and Canada. These networks of antislavery resistance, centered on New York City, became known as the underground railroad. Forced to operate in secrecy by hostile laws, courts, and politicians, the city’s underground-railroad agents helped more than 3,000 fugitive slaves reach freedom between 1830 and 1860. Until now, their stories have remained largely unknown, their significance little understood.
Building on fresh evidence—including a detailed record of slave escapes secretly kept by Sydney Howard Gay, one of the key organizers in New York—Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history. The story is inspiring—full of memorable characters making their first appearance on the historical stage—and significant—the controversy over fugitive slaves inflamed the sectional crisis of the 1850s. It eventually took a civil war to destroy American slavery, but here at last is the story of the courageous effort to fight slavery by "practical abolition," person by person, family by family.
Winner of the 2015 Avery O. Craven Prize from the Organization of American Historians
Winner of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize
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.
Bloomberg View Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2014
Daily Beast Best Nonfiction Books of 2014
In 1984, the landscape historian Mac Griswold was rowing along a Long Island creek when she came upon a stately yellow house and a garden guarded by looming boxwoods. She instantly knew that boxwoods that large—twelve feet tall, fifteen feet wide—had to be hundreds of years old. So, as it happened, was the house: Sylvester Manor had been held in the same family for eleven generations.
Formerly encompassing all of Shelter Island, New York, a pearl of 8,000 acres caught between the North and South Forks of Long Island, the manor had dwindled to 243 acres. Still, its hidden vault proved to be full of revelations and treasures, including the 1666 charter for the land, and correspondence from Thomas Jefferson. Most notable was the short and steep flight of steps the family had called the "slave staircase," which would provide clues to the extensive but little-known story of Northern slavery. Alongside a team of archaeologists, Griswold began a dig that would uncover a landscape bursting with stories.
Based on years of archival and field research, as well as voyages to Africa, the West Indies, and Europe, The Manor is at once an investigation into forgotten lives and a sweeping drama that captures our history in all its richness and suffering. It is a monumental achievement.
“David Batstone is a heroic character.” —Bono
In the revised and updated version of this harrowing yet deeply inspirational exposé, award-winning journalist David Batstone gives the most up-to-date information available on the $31 billion human trafficking epidemic. With profiles of twenty-first century abolitionists like Thailand’s Kru Nam and Peru’s Lucy Borja, Batstone tells readers what they can do to stop the modern slave trade. Like Kevin Bales’ Disposable People and Ending Slavery, or E. Benjamin Skinner’s A Crime So Monstrous, Batstone’s Not for Sale is an informative and necessary manifesto for universal freedom.
So far, historians have offered only easy irony or paradox to explain this extraordinary Founding Father who was an emancipationist in his youth and then recoiled from his own inspiring rhetoric and equivocated about slavery; who enjoyed his renown as a revolutionary leader yet kept some of his own children as slaves. But Wiencek's Jefferson is a man of business and public affairs who makes a success of his debt-ridden plantation thanks to what he calls the "silent profits" gained from his slaves—and thanks to a skewed moral universe that he and thousands of others readily inhabited. We see Jefferson taking out a slave-equity line of credit with a Dutch bank to finance the building of Monticello and deftly creating smoke screens when visitors are dismayed by his apparent endorsement of a system they thought he'd vowed to overturn. It is not a pretty story. Slave boys are whipped to make them work in the nail factory at Monticello that pays Jefferson's grocery bills. Parents are divided from children—in his ledgers they are recast as money—while he composes theories that obscure the dynamics of what some of his friends call "a vile commerce."
Many people of Jefferson's time saw a catastrophe coming and tried to stop it, but not Jefferson. The pursuit of happiness had been badly distorted, and an oligarchy was getting very rich. Is this the quintessential American story?
Virtually all countries in the world are affected by the scourge of human trafficking, either as a source, transit, or destination country, or combination thereof. While countries have long focused on international trafficking, internal movement and exploitation within countries may be even more prevalent than trans-border trafficking. Patterns of trafficking vary across countries and regions and are in a constant state of flux. Countries have long focused on trafficking solely for the purpose of sexual exploitation, yet exploitation in agriculture, construction, fishing, manufacturing, and the domestic and food service industries are prevalent in many countries. Here, Aronowitz takes a global perspective in examining the nefarious underworld of human trafficking, revealing the nature and extent of the harm caused by this hideous criminal practice.
Taking a victims-oriented approach, this book examines the criminals and criminal organizations that traffic and exploit their victims. The author also focuses on the different groups of victims as well as the various forms of and markets for trafficking, many of which have been overlooked due to an emphasis on sex trafficking. She also explores less frequently discussed forms of trafficking - in organs, child soldiers, mail-order brides, and adoption, as well as the use of Internet in trafficking. Drawing on her own field experiences in various parts of the world, the author offers real-life context throughout the book through descriptions of a number of cases with which she was involved or learned about in her travels. Together with insightful analysis, these stories uncover the true nature of human trafficking and illustrate the extent of its reach and harm.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Harriet Jacobs Writing as Linda Brent
“It has been painful to me, in many ways, to recall the dreary years I passed in bondage. I would gladly forget them if I could. Yet the retrospection is not altogether without solace; for with these gloomy recollections come tender memories of my good old grandmother, like light fleecy clouds floating over a dark and troubled sea.”
One of the most memorable slave narratives, Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl illustrates the overarching evil and pervasive depravity of the institution of slavery. In great and painful detail, Jacobs describes her life as a Southern slave, the exploitation that haunted her daily life, her abuse by her master, the involvement she sought with another white man in order to escape her master, and her determination to win freedom for herself and her children. From her seven years of hiding in a garret that was three feet high, to her harrowing escape north to a reunion with her children and freedom, Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl remains an outstanding example of one woman’s extraordinary courage in the face of almost unbeatable odds, as well as one of the most significant testimonials in American history.
When her mother dies, six-year-old slave girl Linda Brent is sent to the big house, where she grows up serving a gentle mistress who teaches her to read and write. But the mistress’s death brings about a sudden and terrible change in Linda’s fortunes.
Her lecherous new master torments Linda mercilessly, making her life a living hell. Unable to join her two young children in their escape to the North, Linda hides in the attic above her grandmother’s house. For seven years, she waits for the opportunity to flee North Carolina and reunite with her son and daughter in the land of freedom. But when the chance finally comes, Linda discovers she has yet more pain to endure.
Based on the true story of Harriet Jacobs’s escape from the South, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is one of American literature’s most powerful indictments of the evils of slavery.
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In a sweeping narrative that spans the globe, Freedom Burning explores the intersection of philanthropic, imperial, and economic interests that underlay Britain's anti-slavery zeal- from London to Liberia, the Sudan to South Africa, Canada to the Caribbean, and the British East India Company to the Confederate States of America. Through careful attention to popular culture, official records, and private papers, Huzzey rewrites the history of the British Empire and a century-long effort to end the global trade in human lives.
This book examines Northup's life as a slave and reveals details of his life after he regained his freedom, relating how he traveled around the Northeast giving public lectures, worked with an Underground Railroad agent in Vermont to help fugitive slaves reach freedom in Canada, and was connected with several theatrical productions based upon his experiences. The tale of Northup's life demonstrates how the victims of the American system of slavery were not just the slaves themselves, but any free person of color—all of whom were potential kidnap victims, and whose lives were affected by that constant threat.
Inside this Instaread Summary:
Overview of the entire book
Introduction to the Important people in the book
Summary and analysis of all the chapters in the book
Key Takeaways of the book
A Reader's Perspective
Preview of this summary: Chapter 1
Molly is a seventeen-year old girl living in the foster care system. Her current foster parents are Dina and Ralph. Molly is sure she will soon be kicked out and sent to the juvenile detention center. She was caught stealing an old copy of Jane Eyre from the public library. She learns she can do community service instead of going to the detention center. Dina wants to kick Molly out, but Ralph talks her into letting Molly stay.
Jack is Molly’s boyfriend. His mom, Terry, is a housekeeper for Vivian, the elderly woman who lives alone. Terry asks Vivian if Molly can help her clean her attic as part of a school project. She does not want Vivian to know that Molly actually needs community service hours.Chapter 2
During Molly’s interview, Vivian asks Molly about herself. Molly shares that she is a Penobscot Indian. Her father died, and her mother could not care of her, so she ended up in the foster care system.
Vivian tells Molly that she became an orphan at almost the exact same age as Molly. She then asks Molly when she would like to begin working in the attic...
Stewart R. King identifies two distinctive groups that shared Saint Domingue’s free black upper stratum, one consisting of planters and merchants and the other of members of the army and police forces. With the aid of individual and family case studies, King documents how the two groups used different strategies to pursue the common goal of economic and social advancement. Among other aspects, King looks at the rural or urban bases of these groups’ networks, their relationships with whites and free blacks of lesser means, and their attitudes toward the acquisition, use, and sale of land, slaves, and other property.
King’s main source is the notarial archives of Saint Domingue, whose holdings offer an especially rich glimpse of free black elite life. Because elites were keenly aware of how a bureaucratic paper trail could help cement their status, the archives divulge a wealth of details on personal and public matters.
Blue Coat or Powdered Wig is a vivid portrayal of race relations far from the European centers of colonial power, where the interactions of free blacks and whites were governed as much by practicalities and shared concerns as by the law.
Born into slavery in Virginia, Elizabeth Keckley was whipped, sexually abused, and separated from her mother for long stretches of time. When her master eventually settled in St. Louis, Missouri, Keckley resolved to buy her freedom. She put to use her talents as a seamstress and found patrons among the wives of the city’s elite, eventually earning enough money to move with her young son to Washington, DC.
In the nation’s capital, Keckley started her own business and soon had commissions from the wives of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stephen A. Douglas, and Edwin Stanton. Hired by Mary Todd Lincoln to be her personal modiste, Keckley formed a close friendship with the first lady, a relationship strengthened by the tragedies they endured together, including the deaths of their sons and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Published to great controversy in 1868, Behind the Scenes offers an intimate and revealing portrait of life inside the White House as well as the stirring story of one woman’s fight to rise above the horrors of slavery. Frequently cited in studies of the Civil War and biographies of the Lincolns, it is a must read for students of American history.
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Born and brought up in slavery, Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) experienced the horrors of bondage but gained freedom and world renown as a lecturer, editor, and one of the most important men behind the American abolitionist movement. This book is the deeply moving story of his life — as a slave, and as a free man.
Douglass wrote three autobiographies, of which the 1855 edition is the most detailed on his life as a slave. In it, readers are not spared the fullest and most graphic descriptions of the cruelty of slavery. Douglass describes his life on a Maryland plantation: the excitement and danger of teaching himself to read and write, his demoralization under a cruel master, and his daring escape.
In the second part of his tale, Douglass, now a fugitive, settles in Massachusetts and joins the anti-slavery movement. He recounts his travels to the British Isles and his first taste of freedom without prejudice, and his return to America to work as spokesman for his oppressed people. In addition to recording his sufferings and his protests, Douglass also provides a keen analysis of the effects of slavery on its victims as well as on society at large.
One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, climbed aboard a distressed Spanish ship carrying scores of West Africans he thought were slaves. They weren't. Having earlier seized control of the vessel and slaughtered most of the crew, they were staging an elaborate ruse, acting as if they were humble servants. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception, he responded with explosive violence.
Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity explores the multiple forces that culminated in this extraordinary event—an event that already inspired Herman Melville's masterpiece Benito Cereno. Now historian Greg Grandin, with the gripping storytelling that was praised in Fordlandia, uses the dramatic happenings of that day to map a new transnational history of slavery in the Americas, capturing the clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was the New World in the early 1800s.