Synopses & Reviews
On June 28, 1839, the Spanish slave schooner Amistad set sail from Havana on a routine delivery of human cargo. On a moonless night, after four days at sea, the captive Africans rose up, killed the captain, and seized control of the ship. They attempted to sail to a safe port, but were captured by the U.S. Navy and thrown into jail in Connecticut. Their legal battle for freedom eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where their cause was argued by former president John Quincy Adams. In a landmark ruling, they were freed and eventually returned to Africa. The rebellion became one of the best-known events in the history of American slavery, celebrated as a triumph of the legal system in films and books, all reflecting the elite perspective of the judges, politicians, and abolitionists involved in the case. In this powerful and highly original account, Marcus Rediker reclaims the rebellion for its true proponents: the African rebels who risked death to stake a claim for freedom.and#160;Using newly discovered evidence, Rediker reframes the story to show how a small group of courageous men fought and won an epic battle against Spanish and American slaveholders and their governments. He reaches back to Africa to find the rebelsandrsquo; roots, narrates their cataclysmic transatlantic journey, and unfolds a prison story of great drama and emotion. Featuring vividly drawn portraits of the Africans, their captors, and their abolitionist allies, he shows how the rebels captured the popular imagination and helped to inspire and build a movement that was part of a grand global struggle between slavery and freedom. The actions aboard the Amistad that July night and in the days and months that followed were pivotal events in American and Atlantic history, but not for the reasons we have always thought.and#160;The successful Amistad rebellion changed the very nature of the struggle against slavery. As a handful of self-emancipated Africans steered their own course to freedom, they opened a way for millions to follow. This stunning book honors their achievement.and#160;
"Historian Rediker (The Slave Ship) focuses on the individual captives in this ambitious retelling of the famous 1839 Amistad uprising. He relies on numerous articles about and interviews with rebellion leader CinquÃ© and his fellow captives to detail their abduction, voyage, and stateside imprisonment. Their trial brings out prominent legislators, including Roger S. Baldwin and former president John Quincy Adams, as well as political activists like Lewis Tappan, turning the already sensational upheaval aboard the slave ship Amistad into a national spectacle of antebellum America. Rediker renders the struggle of progressive newspapersÂ to portray, in both word and image, the refugees as romantic heroes, while proslavery outlets labeled them 'beastly' pirates. He also describes the Africans' and Americans' mutual attempts to understand one another's language and customs, in order to better communicate throughout the hearings. As the Supreme Court solidified its position on the captives' fate, the reader feels America further split in its own attitudes on slavery. Following the verdict, Rediker trails the freed captives as they tour the country and return to their native homelands, while the effects of the court's landmark ruling reverberate throughout the nation. Spectacularly researched and fluidly composed, this latest study offers some much needed perspective on a critical yet oft-overlooked event in America's history. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
, The New York Times Book Review
andldquo;Searingly brilliant.andrdquo;andmdash;Los Angeles Times Book Review
andldquo; I was hardly prepared for the profound emotional impact of The Slave Ship: A Human History. Reading it established a transformative and never to be severed bond with my African ancestors who were cargo in slave ships over a period of four centuries.andrdquo;andmdash;Alice Walker
andldquo; The Slave Ship is the best of histories, deeply researched, brilliantly formulated, and morally informed.andrdquo;andmdash;Ira Berlin, author of Many Thousands Gone
“Gripping...Superb...As Marcus Redikers new book reminds us, the place of the [Amistad] rebellion in popular memory hasnt always been secure.”--The Nation
“The great strength of this work—aside from redikers vivd style as a writer and meticulous research—is that he brings the Amistad Africans back to center stage where they have often been pushed to the side.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Vividly drawn…this stunning book honors the achievement of the captive Africans who fought for—and won—their freedom.”—The Philadelphia Tribune
“Spectacularly researched and fluidly composed, this latest study offers some much needed perspective on a critical yet often overlooked event in Americas history.”--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A totally enthralling account of the Amistad rebellion and its place in the broader American story of revolt against a great threat to liberty."--Booklist (starred review)
"A first-rate example of history told from the bottom up."--Kirkus
"Rediker takes a fresh approach to the Amistad rebellion by focusing on the Africans who revolted rather than on the American political and judicial response, which takes the central place in most previous works."--Library Journal
and#8220;Gripping...Superb...As Marcus Redikerand#8217;s new book reminds us, the place of the [Amistad] rebellion in popular memory hasnand#8217;t always been secure.and#8221;--The Nation and#160;
and#8220;The great strength of this workand#8212;aside from redikerand#8217;s vivd style as a writer and meticulous researchand#8212;is that he brings the Amistad Africans back to center stage where they have often been pushed to the side.and#8221;and#8212;Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Vividly drawnand#8230;this stunning book honors the achievement of the captive Africans who fought forand#8212;and wonand#8212;their freedom.and#8221;and#8212;The Philadelphia Tribune
and#8220;Spectacularly researched and fluidly composed, this latest study offers some much needed perspective on a critical yet often overlooked event in Americaand#8217;s history.and#8221;--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
In this widely praised history of an infamous institution, award-winning scholar Marcus Rediker shines a light into the darkest corners of the British and American slave ships of the eighteenth century. Drawing on thirty years of research in maritime archives, court records, diaries, and firsthand accounts, The Slave Ship
is riveting and sobering in its revelations, reconstructing in chilling detail a world nearly lost to history: the ?floating dungeons? at the forefront of the birth of African American culture.
The riveting account of the slave ship rebellion told for the first time from the slaves’ perspective
The slave ship Amistad set sail from Havana on July 2, 1839, on a routine delivery of human cargo. A few days into its voyage, the fifty-three African captives aboard would seize control and steer a new course—one that took them to freedom and ultimately into history.
Though the Amistad rebellion has been celebrated in films and books, its story has largely been told through the eyes of white abolitionists, with the Supreme Court victory by the Africans as the ultimate triumph. Now, Marcus Rediker’s captivating new history turns the lens on the Africans themselves. Using the story of their horrific plight back to the roots of their shared culture a continent away, he reframes the Amistad story as a crucial moment in the great chain of resistance stretching from the earliest slave revolts through the civil rights struggles of the twentieth century.
A unique account of the most successful slave rebellion in American history, now updated with a new epiloguefrom the award-winning author of The Slave Ship
In this powerful and highly original account, Marcus Rediker reclaims the Amistad rebellion for its true proponents: the enslaved Africans who risked death to stake a claim for freedom. Using newly discovered evidence and featuring vividly drawn portraits of the rebels, their captors, and their abolitionist allies, Rediker reframes the story to show how a small group of courageous men fought and won an epic battle against Spanish and American slaveholders and their governments. The successful Amistad rebellion changed the very nature of the struggle against slavery. As a handful of self-emancipated Africans steered their own course for freedom, they opened a way for millions to follow.
This edition includes a new epilogue about the author's trip to Sierra Leona to search for Lomboko, the slave-trading factory where the Amistad Africans were incarcerated, and other relics and connections to the Amistad rebellion, especially living local memory of the uprising and the people who made it.
About the Author
Marcus Rediker is a professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of The Slave Ship: A Human History
, winner of the George Washington Book Prize and the Merle Curti Award,and#160; and (with Peter Linebaugh) The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailor, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic.