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The Amistad rebellion : an Atlantic odyssey of slavery and freedom
Marcus Rediker
Adult Nonfiction E447 .R44 2012

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Historian Rediker (The Slave Ship) focuses on the individual captives in this ambitious retelling of the famous 1839 Amistad uprising. He relies on numerous articles about and interviews with rebellion leader Cinque and his fellow captives to detail their abduction, voyage, and stateside imprisonment. Their trial brings out prominent legislators, including Roger S. Baldwin and former president John Quincy Adams, as well as political activists like Lewis Tappan, turning the already sensational upheaval aboard the slave ship Amistad into a national spectacle of antebellum America. Rediker renders the struggle of progressive newspapers to portray, in both word and image, the refugees as romantic heroes, while proslavery outlets labeled them "beastly" pirates. He also describes the Africans' and Americans' mutual attempts to understand one another's language and customs, in order to better communicate throughout the hearings. As the Supreme Court solidified its position on the captives' fate, the reader feels America further split in its own attitudes on slavery. Following the verdict, Rediker trails the freed captives as they tour the country and return to their native homelands, while the effects of the court's landmark ruling reverberate throughout the nation. Spectacularly researched and fluidly composed, this latest study offers some much needed perspective on a critical yet oft-overlooked event in America's history. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Renowned maritime historian Rediker (history, Univ. of Pittsburgh; The Slave Ship: A Human History) Rediker takes a fresh approach to the Amistad rebellion by focusing on the Africans who revolted rather than on the American political and judicial response, which takes the central place in most previous works. By using primary sources, including transcripts of interviews with the Africans (translators were provided at the time), accounts of visits with them in prison, and the record of the many abolitionists who came to the rebels' aid, Rediker has re-created the lives of these courageous Africans, showing that their lives were more documented than those of almost any other slaves. He explains how they came to find themselves on the slave ship, their experiences during 19 months in prison, their contribution to their defense, and what they did in America before returning to Sierra Leone. Rediker emphasizes that these rebels were not passive victims of slavery but actively shaped their fate. VERDICT As history from below, this is a fine addition to studies of the Amistad rebellion. Recommended for anyone interested in African American history, the history of slavery, and American history.-Jason Martin, Stetson Univ. Lib., DeLand, FL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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