Why did I love this book?
Greg Grandin integrates the history of a slave rebellion in the vessel Tryal sailing from Valparaiso (Chile) to Lima (Peru) to the large narrative of how capitalism fueled slavery in the early nineteenth century. As the captives passed through the Rio de la Plata region on their way from Africa to Chile, Grandin weaves the history of the southern cone of South America in this story of deception. Herman Melville’s novel Benito Cereno (1855) popularized this slave rebellion, which allows Grandin to establish connections between the North and South Atlantic. Intriguingly, Grandin found another story of a shipboard slave rebellion on the vessel San Juan Nepomuceno, where captives made it back from Montevideo to Africa, which perhaps constitutes the most successful shipboard slave rebellion in the history of this horrific traffic.