10 books like The History of Mary Prince

By Mary Prince,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The History of Mary Prince. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Wretched of the Earth

Jessica M. Chapman Author Of Remaking the World: Decolonization and the Cold War

From the list on the Cold War in the Third World.

Who am I?

At first glance, the Cold War in the Third World can seem like a mess of disjointed, misbegotten tragedies. My goal, though, is to understand the systemic conditions that not only link seemingly disparate cases together, but also help explain why they happened and what legacies they have left behind. The trick is to do that without privileging perspectives from the Global North, flattening historical complexities, and overlooking the unique nature of individual conflicts. This type of work, hard and imperfect as it may be, is essential to understanding the world we have inherited, and might just help us fix it. Making the effort makes me feel like a better human.

Jessica's book list on the Cold War in the Third World

Discover why each book is one of Jessica's favorite books.

Why did Jessica love this book?

How better to understand the motivations of decolonizing peoples than to go to one of the most influential sources of anticolonial philosophy?

Frantz Fanon’s Marxist critiques of nationalism and imperialism, his psychoanalytic discussion of the dehumanizing effects of colonization on individuals and societies, and his framing of decolonization as an inherently violent process all pull the reader into the perspective of a liberation seeker, forcing them to question narratives of anticolonial violence that have emerged from Western archives.

Fanon’s writing is essential reading for today’s students of decolonization.

By Frantz Fanon,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Wretched of the Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The sixtieth anniversary edition of Frantz Fanon’s landmark text, now with a new introduction by Cornel West

First published in 1961, and reissued in this sixtieth anniversary edition with a powerful new introduction by Cornel West, Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth is a masterfuland timeless interrogation of race, colonialism, psychological trauma, and revolutionary struggle, and a continuing influence on movements from Black Lives Matter to decolonization. A landmark text for revolutionaries and activists, The Wretched of the Earth is an eternal touchstone for civil rights, anti-colonialism, psychiatric studies, and Black consciousness movements around the world. Alongside Cornel West’s…

Book cover of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

Marc Epprecht Author Of Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa

From the list on social justice in Africa.

Who am I?

I first travelled to Zimbabwe in 1984, eager both to “build scientific socialism” but also to answer two big questions. How can people proclaim rage at certain injustices yet at the same time perpetuate them against certain other people? And, could I learn to be a better (more empathetic) man than my upbringing inclined me towards? Years of teaching in the rural areas, and then becoming a father taught me “yes” to the second question but for the first, I needed to continue to pursue that knowledge with colleagues, students, mentors, friends and family. Today, my big question is, how can we push together to get these monsters of capitalism, patriarchy, homophobia, racism, and ecocide off our backs?

Marc's book list on social justice in Africa

Discover why each book is one of Marc's favorite books.

Why did Marc love this book?

The canon of anti-colonial, anti-racism writing from and about Africa includes many authors whose passion and insights are sometimes muddied by turgid or masculinist prose. For me, Rodney stands out – and stands the test of time – by the way he so masterfully weaves history into a compelling narrative that utterly demolishes the lies and conceits about supposed Western benevolence toward the continent. Scales fell from my eyes the first time (of many) I read this book. And yes, Rodney is almost as androcentric in his language, sources, and arguments as was the norm in those days. But his acknowledgment of the dignity of African women is implicit, and his discussion of the regressive elements of the colonial economy and education for African women and girls presaged a field of scholarly enquiry and activism that still intrigues me.

By Walter Rodney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How Europe Underdeveloped Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic work of political, economic, and historical analysis, powerfully introduced by Angela Davis In his short life, the Guyanese intellectual Walter Rodney emerged as one of the leading thinkers and activists of the anticolonial revolution, leading movements in North America, South America, the African continent, and the Caribbean. In each locale, Rodney found himself a lightning rod for working class Black Power. His deportation catalyzed 20th century Jamaica's most significant rebellion, the 1968 Rodney riots, and his scholarship trained a generation how to think politics at an international scale. In 1980, shortly after founding of the Working People's Alliance…

Sister Outsider

By Audre Lorde,

Book cover of Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Bettina Aptheker Author Of Communists in Closets: Queering the History 1930s-1990s

From the list on helped me claim identity as a lesbian and feminist.

Who am I?

I'm an activist/scholar and I taught in the Feminist Studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz for 40 years. My most popular class was Introduction to Feminism. Then I taught another large, undergraduate course Feminism & Social Justice. By the time I retired I had taught over 16,000 students, and worked with scores of graduate students. My online class, Feminism & Social Justice, on the Coursera Platform has been taken by over 107,000 people located on literally every continent. My teaching and writings are always anti-racist, and explicitly queer. They've drawn on my life experiences. They come out of my passion to lessen suffering, and embrace compassion. 

Bettina's book list on helped me claim identity as a lesbian and feminist

Discover why each book is one of Bettina's favorite books.

Why did Bettina love this book?

Audre Lorde described herself as a Black, lesbian, feminist, mother, warrior.

She was primarily a poet, but she also wrote powerful prose including Zami that she called a “biomythography,” describing Black lesbian life in the 1940s and 1950s primarily in New York. This book, Sister Outsider is comprised of a series of short essays that profoundly changed and influenced my thinking from a Black, feminist, queer perspective.

Titles suggest new ways of thinking. For example: ”Poetry Is Not A Luxury,” “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action,” “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism.” 

So much of her writing was about breaking silence, about writing as a way of helping to sort our ideas, and feelings, about sexuality as a source of empowerment rather than shame.

There was an uncompromising clarity…

By Audre Lorde,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The woman's place of power within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep

The revolutionary writings of Audre Lorde gave voice to those 'outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women'. Uncompromising, angry and yet full of hope, this collection of her essential prose - essays, speeches, letters, interviews - explores race, sexuality, poetry, friendship, the erotic and the need for female solidarity, and includes her landmark piece 'The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House'.

'The truth of her writing is as necessary today as…

Histories of the Hanged

By David Anderson,

Book cover of Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire

Paddy Docherty Author Of Blood and Bronze: The British Empire and the Sack of Benin

From the list on colonial wrongdoing.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of empire, with a particular interest in the British Empire, colonial violence, and the ways in which imperialism is shown and talked about in popular culture. I studied at Oxford University, and having lived in and travelled around much of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, I am always trying to understand a bit more if I can… but reading is best for that… My first book was The Khyber Pass.

Paddy's book list on colonial wrongdoing

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Why did Paddy love this book?

This is the kind of book that all British historians should be trying to write: an honest, factual, detailed account of what British officials actually did in the service of the Empire. There is no scope for imperial nostalgia over this horrifying story of the brutal violence employed by Britain in the 1950s in an effort to hang onto its colony of Kenya in the face of the Mau Mau Rebellion. With concentration camps, collective punishments, and multiple judicial murders, British methods were among the worst. The ideal Christmas present for any Empire supporters among your friends & family.

By David Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A remarkable account of Britain's last stand in Kenya. This is imperial history at its very best."--John Hope Franklin

In "a gripping narrative that is all but impossible to put down" (Joseph C. Miller), Histories of the Hanged exposes the long-hidden colonial crimes of the British in Kenya. This groundbreaking work tells how the brutal war between the colonial government and the insurrectionist Mau Mau between 1952 and 1960 dominated the final bloody decade of imperialism in East Africa. Using extraordinary new evidence, David Anderson puts the colonial government on trial with eyewitness testimony from over 800 court cases and…

Testing the Chains

By Michael Craton,

Book cover of Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies

Justin Iverson Author Of Rebels in Arms: Black Resistance and the Fight for Freedom in the Anglo-Atlantic

From the list on Black resistance to slavery.

Who am I?

I am a historian of slavery and resistance in early America and in the Atlantic world, and I have long been passionate about how enslaved people refused to accept the chattel system and the many creative ways they found to resist their status. It has also become a central goal of mine to tell their stories and make sure we know more about how slave resistance influenced U.S. society in the past and how it shapes the world in which we live today.

Justin's book list on Black resistance to slavery

Discover why each book is one of Justin's favorite books.

Why did Justin love this book?

Testing the Chains has become a classic for anyone who is interested in slave rebelliousness and their dramatic acts of resistance in the Atlantic world.

Craton wonderfully tells the exciting stories of slave rebels and Maroons and his research is a great starting point for anyone who hasn’t been exposed to the rebels’ stories.

By Michael Craton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Book cover of The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself

Angela Woollacott Author Of Gender and Empire

From the list on how gender helped empires to rule the world.

Who am I?

I’ve been teaching university courses on gender and colonialism for about thirty years. I find students engage with the stories of the daily lived reality of women and men in the past. The books on my list are ones I have assigned at universities in two different countries. It’s so powerful to read someone’s own story from centuries ago, in their own words, like that of Mary Prince. While I love to recommend fiction to history students, I’ve always been fussy about only assigning novels set in a time period and context that the author knew first-hand. It makes these stories—like Heart of Darkness, Burmese Days, and Coonardoo—truly historical evidence. 

Angela's book list on how gender helped empires to rule the world

Discover why each book is one of Angela's favorite books.

Why did Angela love this book?

We all know that slavery was practised by many empires through world history, but it is rare to find the voice and life experience of someone who was enslaved. Literary scholar Moira Ferguson has edited and republished the memoir of Mary Prince, who was born into slavery in Bermuda but escaped in 1828 when her owners took her to London. Mary Prince found refuge with anti-slavery reformers, who wrote down and published her account of her life. I find it a searing account of how enslaved people were torn from their own families and loved ones, and the brutality of their lives in the Caribbean. Be warned: the sexual assault, violence, and cruelty are shocking. But if you want to know about slavery, this book will tell you.

By Mary Prince,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mary Prince was the first black British woman to escape from slavery and publish a record of her experiences. In this unique document, Mary Prince vividly recalls her life as a slave in Bermuda, Turks Island, and Antigua, her rebellion against physical and psychological degradation, and her eventual escape to London in 1828.

First published in London and Edinburgh in 1831, and well into its third edition that year, The History of Mary Prince inflamed public opinion and created political havoc. Never before had the sufferings and indignities of enslavement been seen through the eyes of a woman-a woman struggling…

Sugar and Slaves

By Richard S. Dunn,

Book cover of Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713

Raymond A. Saraceni Author Of Off the Beach in the Caribbean: Travels in the Little Leeward Islands

From the list on accompaning your Caribbean Sojourn.

Who am I?

Over the years, I have had the good fortune to visit various ports of call through the eastern Caribbean and have been struck repeatedly not by the sameness but by the diversity of things and people. I also began to lament that those who visit the islands are encouraged to do so as vacationers rather than as travelers – to borrow a binary from the great Paul Bowles. Encountering a place with any sense of generosity necessitates reading about it, and while the titles I have included here represent some of those that I have found most rewarding and exciting, the full list is as long and varied as the archipelago of islands itself.           

Raymond's book list on accompaning your Caribbean Sojourn

Discover why each book is one of Raymond's favorite books.

Why did Raymond love this book?

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that modern historical scholarship focused upon the West Indies begins with Richard S. Dunn’s Sugar and Slaves. Blazing a trail that nearly all subsequent scholars in the field continue to travel, Dunn’s work brings a materialist and statistical awareness to the study of Caribbean history. Though this may sound like a recipe for aridity, the results are anything but dry. In his analysis of medical records, census data, mortality rates, and summaries of plantation inventories, Dunn opens up a picture of the English West Indies not as a society with slaves, but as a true slave society – one dominated by an institution that consumed countless lives with breathtaking indifference (and whose legacy continues to haunt the region today).  

By Richard S. Dunn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published by UNC Press in 1972, Sugar and Slaves presents a vivid portrait of English life in the Caribbean more than three centuries ago. Using a host of contemporary primary sources, Richard Dunn traces the development of plantation slave society in the region. He examines sugar production techniques, the vicious character of the slave trade, the problems of adapting English ways to the tropics, and the appalling mortality rates for both blacks and whites that made these colonies the richest, but in human terms the least successful, in English America.

Slave Stealers

By Timothy Ballard,

Book cover of Slave Stealers: True Accounts of Slave Rescues: Then and Now

Seth Mallios Author Of Born a Slave, Died a Pioneer: Nathan Harrison and the Historical Archaeology of Legend

From the list on confronting slavery and how it impacts society today.

Who am I?

As an archaeologist, anthropologist, and historian who has worked on both the East Coast (Flowerdew Hundred and Jamestown, Virginia) and West Coast (San Diego, California) of the U.S. and dug sites from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, I am passionate about how archaeology can serve to offer new insights for marginalized peoples in American history. I specialize in exposing how narrow thinking, revisionism, and myth-making warp local histories and turn them into fabrications of the present. 

Seth's book list on confronting slavery and how it impacts society today

Discover why each book is one of Seth's favorite books.

Why did Seth love this book?

This book weaves together two strikingly different stories about slavery that are separated by centuries and hundreds of miles. Ballard's powerful and riveting book not only demonstrates how exploitation in the Americas transcends time and space, it also offers evidence of good deeds by everyday people to combat such lingering evil.

By Timothy Ballard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the 1800s American South, Harriet Jacobs is enslaved and tormented by a cruel master. He relentlessly attempts to force her into a sexual union, and, when rebuffed, he separates her from her children and spends a lifetime trying to coerce her and then recapture her when she escapes to freedom. Jacobs outwits her tormentor and eventually reunites with her children, works in the cause of abolition and reform, and helps newly freed slaves with education and aftercare.

In 2012, Timothy Ballard encounters a grieving father in Haiti whose three-year-old son has been kidnapped and sold into slavery, along with…

Uncle Tom's Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe,

Book cover of Uncle Tom's Cabin

John J. Miller Author Of The First Assassin

From the list on the American Civil War and 5 novels to immerse yourself within it.

Who am I?

John J. Miller is director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College, a writer for National Review, and the host of two book-themed podcasts, The Great Books and The Bookmonger. His books include The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football and Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas. He lives on a dirt road in rural Michigan.

John's book list on the American Civil War and 5 novels to immerse yourself within it

Discover why each book is one of John's favorite books.

Why did John love this book?

“So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war,” Abraham Lincoln supposedly said when he met Stowe. The quote may be apocryphal, but it points to a truth about the 1852 novel that shaped American opinions about the cruelty and injustice of slavery. The writing is a bit melodramatic for modern sensibilities, but it’s hard to beat the scene in which the escaped slave Eliza tries to carry her young son across an icy river for freedom on the other side.

By Harriet Beecher Stowe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Uncle Tom's Cabin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Uncle Tom's Cabin is the most powerful and enduring work of art ever written about American slavery"-Alfred Kazin

"To expose oneself in maturity to Uncle Tom's cabin may...prove a startling experience"-Edmund Wilson

In Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe created America's first black literary hero as well as the nation's antecedent protest novel. The novel's vast influence on attitudes towards African American slavery was considered an incitation towards the American Civil War; conjointly, its powerful anti-slavery message resonated with readers around the world at its time of publication.

With unashamed sentimentality and expressions of faith, Harriet Beecher Stowe, in Uncle…

Bury the Chains

By Adam Hochschild,

Book cover of Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves

Jason J. Jay Author Of Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World

From the list on changing the world, starting with yourself.

Who am I?

I teach sustainability at the MIT Sloan School of Management and get to know hundreds of passionate executives and young professionals every year. They are out to change organizations, disrupt markets, build social movements, and advance public policy to make the world a better place. As I coach and connect these leaders throughout their careers, I get a front row seat to their personal development. I get to observe - what makes for an effective agent of change or social entrepreneur? How can we enact social and environmental values in organizations that seem to ignore those concerns? How do we change ourselves to be more effective in changing the world?

Jason's book list on changing the world, starting with yourself

Discover why each book is one of Jason's favorite books.

Why did Jason love this book?

This is a riveting account of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire and biography of abolitionist Thomas Clarkson. Clarkson committed himself to ending the slave trade in 1785 and pursued this objective until his final speeches in the 1840s. The book is an incredible lesson in persistence and perseverance, as Hochschild follows the advancement and setbacks of a century-long social movement. While racial domination and modern slavery are still very real, abolition represented the awakening of global civil society, and a significant transformation toward a socially just global economy. For anyone feeling a lack of hope about change, there is real inspiration here. 

By Adam Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author of King Leopold's Ghost offers a stirring account of the first great human rights crusade, which originated in England in the 1780s and resulted in the freeing of hundreds of thousands of slaves around the world.

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Interested in Slavery, the West Indies, and Abolitionist?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Slavery, the West Indies, and Abolitionist.

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Abolitionist Explore 8 books about Abolitionist