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

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

Scritto da Adam Hochschild

Narrato da Derek Perkins


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

Scritto da Adam Hochschild

Narrato da Derek Perkins

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (9 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
13 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jul 24, 2018
ISBN:
9781541488205
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

From the author of the widely acclaimed King Leopold's Ghost comes the taut, gripping account of one of the most brilliantly organized social justice campaigns in history—the fight to free the slaves of the British Empire. In early 1787, twelve men—a printer, a lawyer, a clergyman, and others united by their hatred of slavery—came together in a London printing shop and began a remarkable grass-roots movement, battling for the rights of people on another continent.

Masterfully stoking public opinion, the movement's leaders pioneered a variety of techniques that have been adopted by citizens' movements ever since, from consumer boycotts to wall posters and lapel buttons to celebrity endorsements. A deft chronicle of this groundbreaking antislavery crusade and its powerful enemies, Bury the Chains gives a little-celebrated human rights watershed its due at last.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jul 24, 2018
ISBN:
9781541488205
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

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Informazioni sull'autore

ADAM HOCHSCHILD is the author of ten books. King Leopold’s Ghost was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as was To End All Wars. His Bury the Chains was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and PEN USA Literary Award. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    Excellent book on the history of the abolitionists in England and all the other countries involved in the slave trade. Worth the read.
  • (3/5)
    A solid, but occasionally padded, history of the UK's abolition of the slave trade and eventually slavery, covering roughly 1790-1840. One main thesis is that the abolitionists' methods, including pamphlets, petitions, boycotts, branding, etc., anticipated many of the elements of more modern social justice movements.Some quick points: How many slaves there were. Emphasized the abolitionist roles of Quakers, and of women. Main efforts were to end slave trading, not slavery. After abolition, momentum switched, with the powerful joining the movement in order to deny their rivals a competitive advantage.
  • (5/5)
    This kind of book is what led me to get two degrees in history. It is an absolutely fascinating story, compellingly told, with a sweep of several continents and an idea that shook the world.Hochschild does an excellent job of setting the scene, of telling us what it was like to be English in the late 18th century. Slavery was the norm. It had been a part of society since the beginning, and the majority of the world's population were slave or serf. In addition, much of the wealth in England came from the sugar trade, which depended heavily on slavery. And yet, in the course of only a few years, a movement to abolish the slave trade and then slavery itself became overwhelmingly popular. The author devotes himself to explaining how that happened, and no detail is too small for him to uncover...yet it is all told in a way that is as thrilling as any fiction.It started with a committee of about 12 men in the late 1789s. Most of them were Quakers, but their backbone was Thomas Clarkson, who was Anglican. It was essential, since England was officially Anglican, to have spokesmen of that faith. Clarkson traveled enormous distances both raising funds for the campaign and gathering testimony about slavery and the trade.One man who eventually joined the campaign was John Newton, who was a highly influential Anglican clergyman and author of many popular hymns, including Amazing Grace. Newton had been involved in the slave trade for many years as a trader and captain of slave ships.The campaign took off in part because of both words and imagery. A diagram of a slave ship, showing exactly how appalling the conditions were, became a poster seen by much of the British population. Two books were particularly important. One was the memoirs of a former slave, Olaudah Equiano. Equiano traveled nearly as much as Clarkson to sell his memoirs, and in him the British public saw an intelligent and impressive spokesman for his race. The other important book was a condensation of hearings before Parliament about the conditions of the slave trade and of slaves.All of this information was percolated through newspapers and the coffee houses where people gathered and read news and shared information. As a result, abolition of the slave trade became a popular cause, even leading many to give up sugar.However, most Englishmen had no right to vote, nor did any English women. One additional element needed for the campaign to be successful was a forceful speaker in Parliament, and the movement found such a man in William Wilberforce, who on many other topics was a conservative. He gave his passion to the cause of abolition of the slave trade, and was eventually successful, with abolition of slavery coming many years after that.Hochschild mentions, but doesn't emphasize as much as I'd like, the wild ferment of ideas about individual freedom that changed the world in the 18th century. I know that "thinking outside of the box" has become a terrible cliche, but I think the Enlightenment proves that once ideas occur that are out of the box, people start questioning on all sorts of related topics. If government gets legitimacy through the people, then why can't more men vote? Why shouldn't slaves be free? What about women? And so on, and on. this is why the Enlightenment is one of my favorite periods in history.Bury the Chains is a marvelous work, highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Some books are just worth reading twice. And Bury the Chains, which I wrote about previously in connection with the film about Wilberforce called "Amazing Grace," is one of them.A second reading found the Grumpy Vegan focussing more on Adam Hochschild's framing the British anti-slavery movement as the first modern social movement with its use of petitions, public meetings, boycotts (sugar), propaganda, organising (with particular reference to the ability of the Quakers here) and, of course, lobbying and legislation in Parliament, than the rest of the narrative. There's much here for the animal advocate to learn from while understanding that parallels with social movements only go so far but are enlightening nonetheless. For example, Hochschild considers what was in the minds of the founders of a meeting held in London in 1787 for the "Purpose of taking the Slave Trade into Consideration" that resolved it was "both impolitick and unjust""We can only imagine how the committee members felt as they dispersed to their homes that night. The task they had taken on was so monumental as to have seemed to anyone else impossible. They had to ignite their crusade in a country where the great majority of people, from farmhands to bishops, accepted slavery as completely normal. It was also a country where profits from West Indian plantations gave a large boost to the economy, where customs duties on slave-grown sugar were an important source of government revenue, and where the livelihoods of tens of thousands of seamen, merchants, and ship-builders depended on the slave trade. The trade itself had increased to almost unparalleled levels, bringing posterity to key ports, including London itself. How event to begin the massive job of changing public opinion? Furthermore, nineteen out of twenty Englishmen, and all Englishwomen, were not even allowed to vote. Without this most basic of rights themselves, could they be roused to care about the rights of other people, of a different skin color, an ocean away?In all of human experience, there was no precedent for such a campaign."
  • (4/5)
    Very readable story of the various groups, mostly Quakers, working to abolish the slave trade in England. Follows various people from activist Thomas Clarkson, politician William Wilberforce, eccentric musician and radical Granville Sharp and ex-slave Equiano over several decades as they changed public sentiment and finally the law.
  • (4/5)
    A very readable, accessible, and inspiring narrative of the British abolition movement and the characters behind it.
  • (4/5)
    Worthwhile story of surprisingly early citizen social activisim (1780's!!) on behalf of an unpopular cause. I found the book hard to follow, hard to engage, sketchy characters bouncing all over the place perhaps, little to grab onto. I was surprised by sugar boycotts, petition signature drives, timing between American & French Revolutions, the post-American Revolution presence of three thousand blacks in NYCity freed for fighting for the British -- and the disposition of their fates, the Haiti/West Indies revolutions, camarderie among US/UK elite legislator slaver holders, and similarities with modern civil rights movements. Its a worthwhile book, and any one chapter in more depth could have anchored the surrounding narrative, but it seemed all over the place, and writing sometimes seemed very labored and thus, for me at least, the book as a whole was tough reading.
  • (4/5)
    Somewhat slow and tedious to read (there are lots of names, many of them entirely unfamiliar), but enlightening in one aspect at least. This book does an excellent job of getting across just how normative slavery was at the time the abolition movement started. Even freed slaves who had been promised new lives went to serve on slave ships when they had no other options.
  • (4/5)
    Impressive. Very thorough, and many connections I wouldn't have otherwise known about.
  • (5/5)
    Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce worked together to abolish the British slave trade. Wilberforce was a long time MP. Clarkson was a pioneer organizer, travelling and writing incessantly about the horrors of slavery. Wilberforce's progeny pushed Clarkson out of the picture. He has only reeemerged in recent decades. Hochschild fills in the details, the slave rebellions in Haiti and Jamaica, etc. It's a great book. The abolition of slavery was a great milestone, to be sure, but Hochschild points out that the Abolitionists were key pioneers in the broader movement of human rights and even broader concerns for animals and the biosphere. Hochschild shaped a great mass of historical detail into an gripping narrative. To have that fine craftsmanship applied to such an important subject - this book is a treasure!
  • (4/5)
    Hochschild tells the story of the decades long movement to abolish first the slave trade and then slavery in startling and inspiring context. As I read, I kept thinking of the many lessons that we should be applying to the abolition movements of today: nuclear arms, torture and, sadly, human trafficking.