From the list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated.
Who am I?
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
Why did Nicholas love this book?
When I started researching the slave trade in the mid-2000s, there wasn’t a great deal of historical work that examined the realities of the trade for its enslaved victims, nor the merchants who organized it.
I therefore had to turn to Barry Unsworth’s exceptional 1993 novel Sacred Hunger, to gain insight into the slave trade’s gruesome realities. Unsworth undertook deep historical research before writing Sacred Hunger, which examines the fictional slaving voyage of the Liverpool Merchant.
The novel vividly exposes the violence, misery, and death that was at the trade’s core, as well as enslaved people’s constant attempts to resist their captivity. He also paints an accurate portrait of slaving merchants’ chilling rationality and “Sacred Hunger” for personal profit, regardless of what achieving that ambition costs in human lives.