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The Trader, the Owner, the Slave: Parallel Lives in the Age of Slavery

Author: James Walvin  

Paperback

A unique and dramatic book about the Atlantic slave trade.

With a rich component of personal testimony, this is a unique and dramatic book about the Atlantic slave trade. There has been nothing like the Atlantic slave trade. Its scope and the ways in which it has shaped the modern world are so far-reaching as to make it almost ungraspable. By examining the lives of three individuals caught up in the enterprise of human enslavement — a trader, an owner and a slave — James Walvin offers a new and an original interpretation of the barbaric world of slavery and of its historic end in April 1807. John Newton (1725-1807), best-known as the writer of "Amazing Grace," was a slave captain who marshalled his human cargoes with a brutality that he looked back on with shame and contrition. Thomas Thistlewood (1721-1786), lived his life in a remote corner of western Jamaica, and his unique diary provides some of the most revealing images of a slave-owner's life in the most valuable of all British slave colonies. Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797), was practically unknown thirty years ago, but is now an iconic figure in black history and his experience as a slave speaks out for the lives of millions who went unrecorded. All three men were contemporaries; they even came close to each other at different points of the Atlantic compass. But what held them together, in its destructive gravitational pull, was the Atlantic slave system.
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Paperback

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Summary

A unique and dramatic book about the Atlantic slave trade.

With a rich component of personal testimony, this is a unique and dramatic book about the Atlantic slave trade. There has been nothing like the Atlantic slave trade. Its scope and the ways in which it has shaped the modern world are so far-reaching as to make it almost ungraspable. By examining the lives of three individuals caught up in the enterprise of human enslavement — a trader, an owner and a slave — James Walvin offers a new and an original interpretation of the barbaric world of slavery and of its historic end in April 1807. John Newton (1725-1807), best-known as the writer of "Amazing Grace," was a slave captain who marshalled his human cargoes with a brutality that he looked back on with shame and contrition. Thomas Thistlewood (1721-1786), lived his life in a remote corner of western Jamaica, and his unique diary provides some of the most revealing images of a slave-owner's life in the most valuable of all British slave colonies. Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797), was practically unknown thirty years ago, but is now an iconic figure in black history and his experience as a slave speaks out for the lives of millions who went unrecorded. All three men were contemporaries; they even came close to each other at different points of the Atlantic compass. But what held them together, in its destructive gravitational pull, was the Atlantic slave system.

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Description

There has been nothing like Atlantic slavery. Its scope and the ways in which it has shaped the modern world are so far-reaching as to make it ungraspable. By examining the lives of three individuals caught up in the enterprise of human enslavement - a trader, an owner and a slave - James Walvin offers a new and an original interpretation of the barbaric world of slavery and of its historic end in April 1807.John Newton (1725-1807), best known as the author of 'Amazing Grace?, was a slave captain who marshalled his human cargoes with a brutality that he looked back on with shame and contrition. Thomas Thistlewood (1721-86) lived his life in a remote corner of western Jamaica and his unique diary provides some of the most revealing images of a slave owner?s life in the most valuable of all British slave colonies. Olaudah Equiano (1745-97) was practically unknown thirty years ago, but is now an iconic figure in black history and his experience as a slave speaks out for lives of millions who went unrecorded. All three men were contemporaries; they even came close to each other at different points of the Atlantic compass. But what held them together, in its destructive gravitational pull, was the Atlantic slave system.

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Critic Reviews

“"Taken together, their stories provide a remarkably intimate insider's perspective on the slave trade, and give us some sense of its staggering human cost."”

A remarkable and gripping story, asking profound questions Independent James Walvin here addresses the enormity of the slave trade by looking in depth at three individuals inextricably bound up in it London Review of Books How did Britain, the 'slave trading poacher' of the 18th century, transform herself into the 'abolitionist game-keeper' of the 19th century?... James Walvin, a renowned historian of black people in Britain, finds answers to this mystery in the lives of three men who contributed, sometimes unwittingly, to the demise of a seemingly unassailable evil -- Esther Godfrey Daily Telegraph Taken together, their stories provide a remarkably intimate insider's perspective on the slave trade, and give us some sense of its staggering human cost -- Michael Kerrigan Scotsman Much more than just a catalogue of horrors... James Walvin is extraordinarily alert to the contradictions within the human heart... Walvin is never blind to the horrors of slavery, nor to the responsibility of individuals for their actions. But he recognises that the world was different then and that the institution of slavery encouraged individual acts of evil that would otherwise never have occurred -- Craig Brown Mail on Sunday

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About the Author

James Walvin taught for many years at the University of York. He has published widely on slavery and the slave trade. His book Black and White won the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize and his book on the Quakers was named as a 'Notable Book of the Year' by the New York Times. Walvin's book The People's Game has long been the standard work on the history of football.

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Product Details

Publisher
Vintage Books USA | Vintage
Published
31st May 2008
Pages
297
ISBN
9780712667630
$26.40
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