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The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World

by

The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the acclaimed author of Fordlandia, the story of a remarkable slave rebellion that illuminates Americas struggle with slavery and freedom during the Age of Revolution and beyond

One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a seal hunter, climbed aboard a distressed Spanish slaver. He spent all day on the ship, distributing food and water, yet failed to see that the slaves, having seized control and slaughtered most of the crew, were no longer humble servants but in charge. When Delano finally realized the deception, he responded with explosive violence.

Drawing on research on four continents, Empire of Necessity is the untold history of this extraordinary event and its bloody aftermath. With the same gripping storytelling praised in Fordlandia, historian Greg Grandin tracks the West African slaves through the horrors of the Middle Passage and their forced march from the Argentine pampas to the cold, high Andes, providing a new transnational history of slavery in the Americas. He also follows Delano, an idealistic, antislavery New Englander, as he kills the slaves and hunts seals to extinction—his slide from benevolence to barbarism an expression of the human exploitation and environmental destruction that marked the early years of American expansion.

Delanos blindness that day has already inspired one masterpiece—Herman Melvilles Benito Cereno. Now Grandin returns to the event to paint an indelible portrait of a new nation that believes itself to be a beacon of freedom, law, and reason but is driven instead by darker and more violent ambitions.

Review:

"This dark yarn is simultaneously a philosophical, sociological, and literary inquiry, as the historic facts of an 1804 maritime slave rebellion interact dialectically with Benito Cereno, Melville's novel inspired by the revolt. Through rich contextualization, the central events are understood as both singular and allegorical for the surrounding social milieu. As Melville wrote about 'slavery as a proxy for the human condition,' Grandin (Fordlandia) addresses the encounter of Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, with the rebelling West African slaves and their Spanish hostage as a proxy for the manifold forces intersecting in the development of the New World. Delano, described by Grandin as a sort of 'republican Zelig,' embodies the ethical dilemma of antebellum America, contemplating freedom while mired in a system enabled by slavery. Less biographical information is available for the Africans, but Grandin infers that the 'inverted moon... was yet another sign of not just their world but heaven turned upside down' for these slaves forced across the equator, and the occurrence of the Night of Power, an Islamic holy day, as fomenting the rebellion by evoking prophetic proclivities. Grandin's insightful, poetic explorations offer profound insight into a critical moment in the modern development of the struggle between freedom and enslavement." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR'S CHOICE

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE RECOMMENDED BOOK

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 werent. In fact, they were performing an elaborate ruse, having risen up earlier and slaughtered most of the crew and officers. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception—that the men and women he thought were humble slaves were actually running the ship—he rallied his crew to respond with explosive violence.

      Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity is the untold history of this extraordinary event and its bloody aftermath. Delanos blindness that day has already inspired one masterpiece—Herman Melvilles Benito Cereno. Now historian Greg Grandin returns to these dramatic events to paint an indelible portrait of a world in the throes of revolution, providing a new transnational history of slavery in the Americas—and capturing the clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was the New World in the early 1800s.

Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of Fordlandia, the story of a remarkable slave rebellion that illuminates Americas struggle with slavery and freedom during the Age of Revolution and beyond

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 werent. 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 Melvilles 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.

About the Author

Greg Grandin is the author of Fordlandia, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, as well as Empires Workshop and The Blood of Guatemala. A professor of history at New York University and a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Public Librarys Cullman Center, Grandin has served on the UN Truth Commission investigating the Guatemalan Civil War and has written for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, New Statesman, and The New York Times.

Table of Contents

 

Contents

Introduction 1



Part I: Fast Fish


     1. Hawks Abroad      13


     2. More Liberty      22


     3. A Lion without a Crown      31


     4. Body and Soul      38


     5. A Conspiracy of Lifting and Throwing      49

Interlude: I Never Could Look at Death without a Shudder      54



Part II: A Loose Fish


     6. A Suitable Guide to Bliss      61


     7. The Levelling System      72


     8. South Sea Dreams      78



Interlude: Black Will Always Have Something Melancholy in It      91



Part III: The New Extreme


     9. The Skin Trade      97


     10. Falling Man      106


     11. The Crossing      112


     12. Diamonds on the Soles of Their Feet      117


Interlude: Heavens Sense      123



Part IV: Further


     13. Killing Seals      131


     14. Isolatos      142


     15. A Terrific Sovereignty      150


     16. Slavery Has Grades      160



Interlude: A Merry Repast      166



Part V: If God Wills


     17. Night of Power      171


     18. The Story of the San Juan      182


     19. Mohammeds Cursed Sect      186



Interlude: Abominable, Contemptible Hayti      197



Part VI: Who Aint a Slave?


     20. Desperation      203


     21. Deception      211


     22. Retribution      219


     23. Conviction      224



Interlude: The Machinery of Civilization      234



Part VII: General Average


     24. Lima, or The Law of General Average      239


     25. The Lucky One      249


     26. Undistributed      254



Epilogue: Herman Melvilles America      265


A Note on Sources and Other Matters      275


Archives Consulted      293


Notes      297


Acknowledgments      343


Illustrations Credits      347


Index      349

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805094534
Author:
Grandin, Greg
Publisher:
Metropolitan Books
Subject:
Americas (North Central South West Indies)
Subject:
World History-General
Subject:
Slavery
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
30 b/w photos and 1 map
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » African American Studies » Slavery and Reconstruction
History and Social Science » Sociology » Slavery
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » 19th Century
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Western Civilization
Metaphysics » General

The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$30.00 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Metropolitan Books - English 9780805094534 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This dark yarn is simultaneously a philosophical, sociological, and literary inquiry, as the historic facts of an 1804 maritime slave rebellion interact dialectically with Benito Cereno, Melville's novel inspired by the revolt. Through rich contextualization, the central events are understood as both singular and allegorical for the surrounding social milieu. As Melville wrote about 'slavery as a proxy for the human condition,' Grandin (Fordlandia) addresses the encounter of Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, with the rebelling West African slaves and their Spanish hostage as a proxy for the manifold forces intersecting in the development of the New World. Delano, described by Grandin as a sort of 'republican Zelig,' embodies the ethical dilemma of antebellum America, contemplating freedom while mired in a system enabled by slavery. Less biographical information is available for the Africans, but Grandin infers that the 'inverted moon... was yet another sign of not just their world but heaven turned upside down' for these slaves forced across the equator, and the occurrence of the Night of Power, an Islamic holy day, as fomenting the rebellion by evoking prophetic proclivities. Grandin's insightful, poetic explorations offer profound insight into a critical moment in the modern development of the struggle between freedom and enslavement." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR'S CHOICE

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE RECOMMENDED BOOK

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 werent. In fact, they were performing an elaborate ruse, having risen up earlier and slaughtered most of the crew and officers. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception—that the men and women he thought were humble slaves were actually running the ship—he rallied his crew to respond with explosive violence.

      Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity is the untold history of this extraordinary event and its bloody aftermath. Delanos blindness that day has already inspired one masterpiece—Herman Melvilles Benito Cereno. Now historian Greg Grandin returns to these dramatic events to paint an indelible portrait of a world in the throes of revolution, providing a new transnational history of slavery in the Americas—and capturing the clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was the New World in the early 1800s.

"Synopsis" by , From the acclaimed author of Fordlandia, the story of a remarkable slave rebellion that illuminates Americas struggle with slavery and freedom during the Age of Revolution and beyond

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 werent. 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 Melvilles 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.

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