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Short Synopsis
For more than three centuries, slave ships carried millions of people from the coasts of Africa to the New World. In The Slave Ship, award-winning historian Marcus Rediker creates an unprecedented history of these vessels and the human drama acted out on their rolling decks. Rediker restores the slave ship to its rightful place alongside the plantation as a formative institution of slavery, as a place where a profound and still haunting history of race, class, and modern capitalism was made.

Full Synopsis
For more than three centuries, slave ships carried millions of people from the coasts of Africa across the Atlantic to the New World. Much is known of the slave trade and the American plantation complex, but little of the ships that made it all possible. In The Slave Ship, award-winning historian Marcus Rediker draws on thirty years of research in maritime archives to create an unprecedented history of these vessels and the human drama acted out on their rolling decks. He reconstructs in chilling detail the lives, deaths, and terrors of captains, sailors, and the enslaved aboard a "floating dungeon" trailed by sharks. From the young African kidnapped from his village and sold to the slavers by a neighboring tribe, to the would-be priest who takes a job as a sailor on a slave ship only to be horrified by the evil he sees, to the captain who relishes having "a hell of my own," Rediker illuminates the lives of people who were thought to have left no trace.

This is a tale of tragedy and terror, but also an epic of resilience, survival, and the creation of something entirely new, something that could only be called African American. Rediker restores the slave ship to its rightful place alongside the plantation as a formative institution of slavery, as a place where a profound and still haunting history of race, class, and modern capitalism was made.

"Masterly…. Rediker has made magnificent use of archival data; his probing, compassionate eye turns up numerous finds that other people who've written on this subject…have missed." ---The New York Times

"Carefully and intelligently read by David Drummond.... His succinct enunciation, warm tone, and precise yet subtly compassionate interpretation enhances Rediker's...exemplary book. Strongly recommended." ---Library Journal Starred Audio Review

"Imaginatively conceived, expertly researched, humanely informed, and movingly written." ---Library Journal Starred Review

"Searingly brilliant" ---Los Angeles Times

"Rediker's dramatic presentation powerfully impresses." ---Kirkus

"Narrator David Drummond pronounces the African names, places, and tribes with ease, and his precise speech enunciates every word." ---AudioFile

"Groundbreaking.... Remarkably attentive to the experiences of the enslaved women...and of the common seaman.... Rediker does not lose sight of the humanity of even the most egregious participants." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Library Journal Audio

Library Journal Review

Publishers Weekly Review

The Slave Ship

A Human History

Author Marcus Rediker

Narrated by David Drummond

Publication date Oct 15, 2007

Running time 13 hrs

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