The Trader, The Owner, The Slave

The Trader, The Owner, The Slave

Parallel Lives in the Age of Slavery

Summary

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. James Walvin offers a new and an original interpretation of the barbaric world of slavery and of the historic end to the slave trade in April 1807.

John Newton (1725-1807), 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's (1721-86) 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's (1745-97) experience as a slave now speaks out for lives of millions who went unrecorded. All three men were contemporaries but what held them together, in its destructive gravitational pull, was the Atlantic slave system.

Reviews

  • 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

About the author

James Walvin

James Walvin is the Emeritus Professor of History 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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