100 books like Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

By David Eltis, David Richardson,

Here are 100 books that Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade fans have personally recommended if you like Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Strange Career of Jim Crow

Eric Nellis Author Of Shaping the New World: African Slavery in the Americas, 1500-1888

From my list on African slavery in the Americas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught American, European, and World History at the University of British Columbia for over 30 years. I was constantly reminded of the dynamics and consequences of slavery and how a history of black America should be more prevalent in understanding the development of American culture, institutions, and identity over time. In writing two books on colonial America and the American Revolution, the roots of America’s racial divide became clearer and the logic of permanence seemed irresistible. My Shaping the New World was inspired by a course I taught for years on slavery in the Americas. Compiling the bibliography and writing the chapters on slave women and families helped to refine my understanding of the “peculiar institution” in all its both common and varied characteristics throughout the Americas.

Eric's book list on African slavery in the Americas

Eric Nellis Why did Eric love this book?

This succinct and persuasive study of the profound failure to integrate the freed slave population in the U.S. after 1865 is a rare example of a scholarly work’s direct influence on governments and the process of reform.  The author’s premise and analysis is that popular and local official antipathy to emancipation led to enforced, violent segregation (Jim Crow) that was constitutionally affirmed in the 1896 Plessy case.  The book’s three editions follow the history of civil rights reform from the 1950s to the 1970s and the Supreme Court’s gradual dismantling of the Plessy rule. While Jim Crow law has been overturned, versions of real-life Jim Crow conditions remain.

By C. Vann Woodward,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Strange Career of Jim Crow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Strange Career offers a clear and illuminating analysis of the history of Jim Crow laws and American race relations. This book presented evidence that segregation in the South dated only to the 1880s. It's publication in 1955, a year after the Supreme Court ordered schools be desegregated, helped counter arguments that the ruling would destoy a centuries-old way of life. The commemorative edition includes a special afterword by William S. McFeely, former
Woodward student and winner of both the 1982 Pulitzer Prize and 1992 Lincoln Prize. As William McFeely describes in the new afterword, 'the slim volume's social consequence far…


Book cover of Between the World and Me

David Hanna Author Of History Nation: A Citizen's Guide to the History of the United States

From my list on read if you love Howard Zinn's A People's History Of the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

As both an author and a teacher, I’ve been using Howard Zinn’s iconic book for over 20 years. I have found it to be an effective counterweight to more orthodox texts, as well as a credible platform for stimulating discussion. In writing my own “guide” to U.S. history, I always kept Zinn in mind. While we may not always agree, the dissonance is something I’m certain Howard Zinn would appreciate. He was unafraid to "engage" with his subject matter and his readers. This is an inspiration.

David's book list on read if you love Howard Zinn's A People's History Of the United States

David Hanna Why did David love this book?

Coates’s semi-autobiographical examination of life for black men in American society, and more broadly in American history, is an education. Like Zinn, Coates calls America on the hypocrisy inherent in its highest ideals and its most cherished conceits.

As Coates himself later said about Zinn, "He knocked me on my ass." The two - while not always on the same page in their critical examinations of the American experiment, are clearly kindred spirits. They both want America to do better and clearly believe it can do better if it is honest about itself - but will it be? This is the question left ominously dangling by both Zinn and Coates.

By Ta-Nehisi Coates,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Between the World and Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • NAMED ONE OF TIME’S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • ONE OF OPRAH’S “BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH” • NOW AN HBO ORIGINAL SPECIAL EVENT
 
Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race” (Rolling Stone)
 
NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN •…


Book cover of Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800

Eric Nellis Author Of Shaping the New World: African Slavery in the Americas, 1500-1888

From my list on African slavery in the Americas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught American, European, and World History at the University of British Columbia for over 30 years. I was constantly reminded of the dynamics and consequences of slavery and how a history of black America should be more prevalent in understanding the development of American culture, institutions, and identity over time. In writing two books on colonial America and the American Revolution, the roots of America’s racial divide became clearer and the logic of permanence seemed irresistible. My Shaping the New World was inspired by a course I taught for years on slavery in the Americas. Compiling the bibliography and writing the chapters on slave women and families helped to refine my understanding of the “peculiar institution” in all its both common and varied characteristics throughout the Americas.

Eric's book list on African slavery in the Americas

Eric Nellis Why did Eric love this book?

An invaluable scholarly source for understanding the Atlantic slave system at its source.  Among the book’s virtues are details of the cultures and politics in the area of European penetration and African slavery itself and the African participation in the European trade. This book should be recognized with the extensive literature on the Atlantic slave trade for its acknowledgment of the great range of African languages and cultures that ended up in Brazil, the Caribbean, and North America.

By John Thornton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book explores Africa's involvement in the Atlantic world from the fifteenth century to the eighteenth century. It focuses especially on the causes and consequences of the slave trade, in Africa, in Europe, and in the New World. African institutions, political events, and economic structures shaped Africa's voluntary involvement in the Atlantic arena before 1680. Africa's economic and military strength gave African elites the capacity to determine how trade with Europe developed. Thornton examines the dynamics of colonization which made slaves so necessary to European colonizers, and he explains why African slaves were placed in roles of central significance. Estate…


Book cover of Slave and Citizen: The Classic Comparative Study of Race Relations in the Americas

Eric Nellis Author Of Shaping the New World: African Slavery in the Americas, 1500-1888

From my list on African slavery in the Americas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught American, European, and World History at the University of British Columbia for over 30 years. I was constantly reminded of the dynamics and consequences of slavery and how a history of black America should be more prevalent in understanding the development of American culture, institutions, and identity over time. In writing two books on colonial America and the American Revolution, the roots of America’s racial divide became clearer and the logic of permanence seemed irresistible. My Shaping the New World was inspired by a course I taught for years on slavery in the Americas. Compiling the bibliography and writing the chapters on slave women and families helped to refine my understanding of the “peculiar institution” in all its both common and varied characteristics throughout the Americas.

Eric's book list on African slavery in the Americas

Eric Nellis Why did Eric love this book?

This is a comparative short study of slave societies in the Americas with an emphasis on how the Brazilian system was more legally and morally fluid than the more rigid North American system. The importance of this book lies in its originality and influence as a model for generations of historians.  Tannenbaum’s legalistic themes have been superseded by enriched data sources and social science theories and models. An additional characteristic of this comparative model was the introduction of the work of controversial Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freyre, his thesis of miscegenation and its role in defining Brazilian national character. Tannenbaum’s optimistic closing prediction about racial harmony has not yet occurred.

By Frank Tannenbaum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Slave and Citizen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1947, Slave and Citizen is a classic in the field of comparative slave history and race relations.


Book cover of Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa

Manu Herbstein Author Of Ama, a Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade

From my list on the Transatlantic slave trade for serious scholars.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an engineer, I have constructed bridges, highways, and power plants throughout Africa, and on journeys learned and explored the continent's history. My novel, Ama, a Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, won the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Best First Book. My 200 plus sources, and excerpts from many of them, are listed on the companion website

Manu's book list on the Transatlantic slave trade for serious scholars

Manu Herbstein Why did Manu love this book?

In this classic history, Paul Lovejoy examines how indigenous African slavery developed from the fifteenth to the early twentieth centuries within an international context, leading to the Atlantic trade conducted by Europeans and Americans. He describes the processes of enslavement and the marketing of slaves and assesses slavery's role in African and world history.

By Paul E. Lovejoy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Transformations in Slavery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This history of African slavery from the fifteenth to the early twentieth centuries examines how indigenous African slavery developed within an international context. Paul E. Lovejoy discusses the medieval Islamic slave trade and the Atlantic trade as well as the enslavement process and the marketing of slaves. He considers the impact of European abolition and assesses slavery's role in African history. The book corrects the accepted interpretation that African slavery was mild and resulted in the slaves' assimilation. Instead, slaves were used extensively in production, although the exploitation methods and the relationships to world markets differed from those in the…


Book cover of The Slave Ship: A Human History

Nicholas Radburn Author Of Traders in Men: Merchants and the Transformation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

From my list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the Atlantic slave trade since 2007, when I first studied the business papers of a Liverpool merchant who had enslaved over a hundred thousand people. I was immediately struck by the coldness of the merchant’s accounts. I was also drawn to the ways in which the merchant’s profit-motivated decisions shaped the forced migrations and experiences of their victims. I have subsequently extended my research to examine slave traders across the vastness of the Atlantic World. I'm also interested in the ways that the slave trade’s history continues to shape the modern world, from the making of uneven patterns of global economic development to such diverse areas as the financing of popular music. 

Nicholas' book list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated

Nicholas Radburn Why did Nicholas love this book?

In 2007, I was writing a biography of Liverpool merchant William Davenport, who had made his fortune via the slave trade.

As I researched Davenport’s dry ledgers and letterbooks, I was fortunate to have Marcus Rediker’s exceptional The Slave Ship to hand. Pushing back against the “violence of abstraction” inherent to the accounts of slavers like Davenport, Rediker’s book exposed the horrors of the Middle Passage in unflinching detail.

His book is also filled with powerful individual stories of captives, captains, and crewmen that demonstrated to me the importance of writing “human histories” of the slave trade.

By Marcus Rediker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Slave Ship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The slave ship was the instrument of history's greatest forced migration and a key to the origins and growth of global capitalism, yet much of its history remains unknown. Marcus Rediker uncovers the extraordinary human drama that played out on this world-changing vessel. Drawing on thirty years of maritime research, he demonstrates the truth of W.E.B DuBois's observation: the slave trade was 'the most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history'. The Slave Ship" focuses on the so-called 'golden age' of the slave trade, the period of 1700-1808, when more than six million people were transported out…


Book cover of An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World: Benguela and Its Hinterland

Vanessa Oliveira Author Of Slave Trade and Abolition: Gender, Commerce, and Economic Transition in Luanda

From my list on the slave trade from Angola.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of African history at the Royal Military College of Canada, where I teach courses on European colonialism and early and modern Africa. I earned a PhD in history from York University in Canada and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto before joining RMC. My research interests include slavery, slave trade, legitimate commerce, and intercultural marriages in Luanda and its hinterland. I have published articles and book chapters and co-edited (with Paul E. Lovejoy) Slavery, Memory and Citizenship. My first book, Slave Trade and Abolition was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in January 2021.

Vanessa's book list on the slave trade from Angola

Vanessa Oliveira Why did Vanessa love this book?

The Angolan southern town of Benguela was the third-largest port of embarkation of captives in the history of the transatlantic slave trade, after Luanda and Ouidah (in modern-day Benin). In spite of its importance as a slaving port, An African Slaving Port was the first English-language book on Benguela. In this book, Mariana P. Candido traces the history and development of the port from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century highlighting the connections between Benguela, Portugal, Brazil, and the Caribbean. The book contributes to the scholarship on the impact of the transatlantic slave trade on African societies looking at changes in consumption patterns, cultural elements, and institutions on the coast as well as in interior regions. Furthermore, the book contributes to engender the history of the slave trade from Angola by evidencing the role of local women merchants known as donas as independent traders and intermediaries between foreign traders and…

By Mariana Candido,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book traces the history and development of the port of Benguela, the third largest port of slave embarkation on the coast of Africa, from the early seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Benguela, located on the central coast of present-day Angola, was founded by the Portuguese in the early seventeenth century. In discussing the impact of the transatlantic slave trade on African societies, Mariana P. Candido explores the formation of new elites, the collapse of old states and the emergence of new states. Placing Benguela in an Atlantic perspective, this study shows how events in the Caribbean and Brazil affected…


Book cover of Hunting Midnight

Wendy Lee Hermance Author Of Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

From my list on why Portugal is weird.

Why am I passionate about this?

Wendy Lee Hermance was heard on National Public Radio (NPR) stations with her Missouri Folklore series in the 1980s. She earned a journalism degree from Stephens College, served as Editor and Features Writer for Midwestern and Southern university and regional publications, then settled into writing real estate contracts. In 2012 she attended University of Sydney, earning a master’s degree by research thesis. Her books include Where I’m Going with this Poem, a memoir in poetry and prose. Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat marks her return to feature writing as collections of narrative non-fiction stories.

Wendy's book list on why Portugal is weird

Wendy Lee Hermance Why did Wendy love this book?

Portugal: The Impossible Revolution? a 1990s dissertation on rainfall patterns, and Richard Zimler's 1998 best-seller, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon were the only books on Portugal I could find with useful content - more than enough to book a flight. Zimler´s second novel about the Zarco family connected with me because it connects Portugal with South Carolina, where I lived for decades. It was the first book to explain Portugal as weird—confusing, full of contradictions—because Portugal is not one country, but a mosaic of world cultures. For example, the main character´s father also went back and forth to Africa in the 18th century, which was mind-blowing to me. Zimler's depiction of the bond between former African slave Midnight, and John Zarco, each a survivor of state-sponsored violence was deeply moving. The book's period atmosphere, magical occurrences, and bird markets primed me to expect the same here. Which I have. 

By Richard Zimler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hunting Midnight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Zimler's dazzling tale, John Zarco Stewart is an impish child of bold inquisitiveness, the unwitting inheritor of a faith shrouded in 300 years of secrecy. Dark and bitter events put an end to his innocence and almost destroy him, but he is healed by the arrival in his household of a mysterious young man from Africa.

Midnight is a freed slave brought to Porto by John's seafaring father, and he becomes John's greatest friend, ultimately determining the course of his life. But as John grows to manhood Midnight is lost to him, Napoleon's armies invade Portugal, and John's fragile…


Book cover of Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery

Dennis L. Peterson Author Of Christ in Camp and Combat: Religious Work in the Confederate Armies

From my list on little-known aspects of the Confederate era.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, editor, and former history teacher and curriculum writer with a special interest in Southern history, particularly the Confederate era. I have written and published two books on lesser-known aspects of the Confederacy, the civilian government (Confederate Cabinet Departments and Secretaries), and religious work in the Confederate armies (Christ in Camp and Combat: Religious Work in the Confederate Armies). I taught on various levels, from junior high through college, and have B.S. and M.S. degrees with post-graduate work in Southern history and religion.

Dennis' book list on little-known aspects of the Confederate era

Dennis L. Peterson Why did Dennis love this book?

Three veteran journalists without a regional axe to grind but only a desire to find and communicate the historical facts present a compelling argument that slavery was a national, not merely a Southern, problem. Their findings are truly an inconvenient truth that anti-Southern historians must face if they sincerely want to be objective chroniclers of our nation’s history.

By Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, Jennifer Frank

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Complicity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A startling and superbly researched book demythologizing the North’s role in American slavery
 
“The hardest question is what to do when human rights give way to profits. . . . Complicity is a story of the skeletons that remain in this nation’s closet.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
The North’s profit from—indeed, dependence on—slavery has mostly been a shameful and well-kept secret . . . until now. Complicity reveals the cruel truth about the lucrative Triangle Trade of molasses, rum, and slaves that linked the North to the West Indies and Africa. It also discloses the reality of Northern empires built on tainted…


Book cover of Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora

Nicholas Radburn Author Of Traders in Men: Merchants and the Transformation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

From my list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the Atlantic slave trade since 2007, when I first studied the business papers of a Liverpool merchant who had enslaved over a hundred thousand people. I was immediately struck by the coldness of the merchant’s accounts. I was also drawn to the ways in which the merchant’s profit-motivated decisions shaped the forced migrations and experiences of their victims. I have subsequently extended my research to examine slave traders across the vastness of the Atlantic World. I'm also interested in the ways that the slave trade’s history continues to shape the modern world, from the making of uneven patterns of global economic development to such diverse areas as the financing of popular music. 

Nicholas' book list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated

Nicholas Radburn Why did Nicholas love this book?

This book really helped me to look beyond slave trading merchants’ papers to think about the lived realities of the slave trade for those merchants’ victims.

Smallwood follows enslaved people from their initial sale on the African coast, aboard the slave ships, and then through their sale and seasoning in the English Americas—a model that brilliantly exposes the multi-staged way that captive Africans were commodified within the slave trade.

Saltwater Slavery also details the experiences of enslaved people within the trade, especially the mental and physical trauma that they suffered aboard the slave ships. 

By Stephanie E. Smallwood,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Saltwater Slavery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This bold, innovative book promises to radically alter our understanding of the Atlantic slave trade, and the depths of its horrors. Stephanie E. Smallwood offers a penetrating look at the process of enslavement from its African origins through the Middle Passage and into the American slave market.

Smallwood's story is animated by deep research and gives us a startlingly graphic experience of the slave trade from the vantage point of the slaves themselves. Ultimately, Saltwater Slavery details how African people were transformed into Atlantic commodities in the process. She begins her narrative on the shores of seventeenth-century Africa, tracing how…


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