10 books like Slave Ship Sailors and Their Captive Cargoes, 1730-1807

By Emma Christopher,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Slave Ship Sailors and Their Captive Cargoes, 1730-1807. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Transformations in Slavery

By Paul E. Lovejoy,

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

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.

Transformations in Slavery

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…


Elmina, 'The Little Europe'

By Joseph K. Adjaye,

Book cover of Elmina, 'The Little Europe': European Impact and Cultural Resilience

This book is a brief introduction to the history of Elmina, its castle, the people, and their traditions. It outlines the town’s 500-year relations with Europeans, highlighting the transformations that have developed out of these interactions. Written by one of the top historians of Ghana and a leading scholar of the African diaspora, the book is based on original archival information and oral sources. It is richly informed by the writer’s own personal knowledge as a citizen of Elmina.

Elmina, 'The Little Europe'

By Joseph K. Adjaye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elmina, 'The Little Europe' as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a brief introduction to the history of Elmina, its castle, the people, and their traditions. It outlines the town’s 500-year relations with Europeans, highlighting the transformations that have developed out of these interactions. Written by one of the top historians of Ghana and a leading scholar of the African diaspora, the book is based on original archival information and orally-derived sources. It is also richly informed by the writer’s own personal knowledge as a Nyampa Safohen and citizen of Elmina. Despite the tremendous changes engendered by the European contact, Elmina’s historical development demonstrates an amazing degree of cultural…


Saltwater Slavery

By Stephanie E. Smallwood,

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

Relying primarily on Royal African Company records, Smallwood reconstructs the forced migration and enslavement of approximately 300,000 African men, women, and children who were transported in English ships from the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana) to the Americas between 1675 and 1725. She traces their dehumanizing journey from captivity in European forts on the West African coast through commodification at sea to sale in slave markets in the Caribbean and North America.

Through careful analysis of quantitative data, Smallwood tracks the processes of commodification that underwrote the transatlantic slave trade while simultaneously foregrounding the human experience of captivity and migration. This book offers a model example of innovative historical writing.

Saltwater Slavery

By Stephanie E. Smallwood,

Why should I read it?

2 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…


To Be a Slave in Brazil

By Katia M. de Queiros Mattoso,

Book cover of To Be a Slave in Brazil: 1550-1888

In the introduction, dated July 1978, Mattoso writes. … my purpose in writing this book was to discover what life was really like for the slaves in Brazil … This book is addressed to an audience of general readers. I have therefore felt free to dispense with the usual scholarly apparatus of extensive footnotes and bibliography … Its title … signals my intention to adopt the standpoint of the slaves themselves … to trace the various stages in the lives of the slaves as individuals and of the slave group as a community.

To Be a Slave in Brazil

By Katia M. de Queiros Mattoso,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Be a Slave in Brazil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The book has the great advantage of placing the slave in the center of the history not simply as a type of labor, but as an actor whose culture, actions and decisions influenced the operation of the system... written with verve and grace for a general readership.


The Slave Ship

By Marcus Rediker,

Book cover of The Slave Ship: A Human History

Both incredibly fascinating and horrifying, this book found its start in the author’s desire to write about sailing ships. I’m interested in socio-political history and I’ve found that there’s nothing more disturbing or terrifying than looking deep into the world’s past. It’s a great way to be informed and to pepper fiction with interesting nonfiction details. (And to be horrified.) Our imaginations can not outpace what people have actually done. In the foreword, Reddiker describes researching the subject and finding information about the ships that carried human cargo for chattel slavery. There’s a personal anecdote as the author digs further into the records. He suffers an unexpected emotional impact as he began to understand what an immense human tragedy the entire affair was. Then he realizes that no one else has written about the subject from this perspective and his research becomes focused on revealing this history. It is stunning…

The Slave Ship

By Marcus Rediker,

Why should I read it?

2 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…


Complicity

By Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, Jennifer Frank

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

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.

Complicity

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…


The Prophets

By Robert Jones, Jr.,

Book cover of The Prophets

This novel is a fever dream of the best kind. The Prophets is unapologetically about love, how rare and revolutionary it is. How selfish, envious others can see it as a threat—especially when that love is between two enslaved Black men. As powerful as Isaiah and Samuel’s story is, the chapters set in Africa held me equally entranced. As I read, I kept shouting “Yes!” in my head. I felt like I’d been waiting for this book for years. I don’t reread novels often, but this is one to savor.

The Prophets

By Robert Jones, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER*

'This visionary and deeply evocative debut carves a radiant love story out of the bleakest of landscapes.' Waterstones - Best Books to Look Out For in 2021

'An Outstanding novel' Guardian
'A lyrical, poetic novel' Independent
'Epic in its scale' Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
'A rare marvel' Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
'Magisterial' Courttia Newland, author of A River Called Time
'A spellbinding debut' COSMO
'Ambitious and intense' Vanity Fair

In this blinding debut, Robert Jones Jr. blends the lyricism of Toni Morrison with the vivid prose…


Barracoon

By Zora Neale Hurston,

Book cover of Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"

This book is a raw peek into America’s troubled past. It’s a series of interviews that Hurston conducts with a man who was on the last slave ship to make the transatlantic passage. It is a difficult read on two levels: subject matter and English. Hurston presents the words of a man named Cudjo Lewis as authentically as possible. What may seem to some today as parody, is translated to the page with accuracy. For me it communicated first-hand some of the past my main character has lived through. Books like this help to inform my protagonist’s current attitude toward the world (Alexander Smith in Blood For The Sun and All The Dead Men).

Barracoon

By Zora Neale Hurston,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Barracoon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A major literary event: a never-before-published work from the author of the American classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God which brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave trade-illegally smuggled from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, to interview ninety-five-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of…


Dreams of Africa in Alabama

By Sylviane A. Diouf,

Book cover of Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America

After reading Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston, I wanted to learn more. This book, about the last Black person captured in Africa and enslaved in America, was astounding, but short. 

My thirst for more about the protagonist, Kossolo Lewis, led me to Dreams of Africa in Alabama. This book gives excellent riveting details about slavery, the crime against humanity. It also fascinatingly tells the detailed story, supported by research of facts and data about a crime against Federal U.S. laws, how Mr. Lewis was taken from Africa in the 1850’s, more than 4 decades after the U.S. prohibited the importation of people to be enslaved in 1808. 

By reading this book, I was exposed to real life stories about a White family, who broke laws, so they could enrich themselves off of the suffering of other humans. But even more importantly, the book chronicles Mr. Lewis’ life after slavery.…

Dreams of Africa in Alabama

By Sylviane A. Diouf,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1860, more than fifty years after the United States legally abolished the international slave trade, 110 men, women, and children from Benin and Nigeria were brought ashore in Alabama under cover of night. They were the last recorded group of Africans deported to the United States as slaves. Timothy Meaher, an established Mobile businessman, sent the slave ship, the Clotilda , to Africa, on a bet that he could "bring a shipful of niggers
right into Mobile Bay under the officers' noses." He won the bet.

This book reconstructs the lives of the people in West…


Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves

By Kirk Savage,

Book cover of Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America

Kirk Savage’s book was one of the first critical monographs focusing on the presence and problems of race representation in American monument culture. Written well before monument removals in the 21st century, Savage identified what would become one of the central issues of our time: how Americans have created and sustained racial injustice in the public square via monuments and memorials. This book elevated the study of monuments in American classrooms—and society. The recent controversy over whether to remove the Emancipation Monument by Thomas Ball from public squares in Boston and Washington, DC indicates that Americans have been wrestling with the problems of monuments for a very long time.

Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves

By Kirk Savage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A history of U.S. Civil War monuments that shows how they distort history and perpetuate white supremacy

The United States began as a slave society, holding millions of Africans and their descendants in bondage, and remained so until a civil war took the lives of a half million soldiers, some once slaves themselves. Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves explores how the history of slavery and its violent end was told in public spaces-specifically in the sculptural monuments that came to dominate streets, parks, and town squares in nineteenth-century America. Looking at monuments built and unbuilt, Kirk Savage shows how the greatest…


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