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American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 4, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Rasmussen pieces together a rich tale of the rebellion's mechanics despite sparse historical sources. We learn of the challenges faced by American diplomats trying to bring French aristocrats and Spanish Florida into the Union, and how a blind eye was turned to the potential for revolt. We learn about the cultural diversity of the slaves, including the origins of African military tactics that proved successful against American forces. We understand how the successful slave rebellion of Haiti influenced both the slaves and planters. We discover the heroic leader Charles Deslondes, a half-white who rebelled despite rising high within the hierarchy of slaves. His story reminds me of Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption.
The book's only weak paragraph comes when Rasmussen speculates why Deslondes rebelled despite his privilige.Read more ›
If Rasmussen has unearthed a fascinating and rich history, he has also reemphasized contemporary responses and strategies that suppressed this important rebellion. His brilliant investigation into primary sources is matched by his striking analysis of the trends and characters that conspired to smooth over violent unrest, and to gloss indigenous narrative and progress. This is an important contribution not only in writing the events of American history, but also as a fascinating reflection of its wider historical process, political context and repercussions, and the meaning of its often violent symbols.
Rasmussen is an immensely gifted and promising writer, and his layered approach means that this book can engage absolutely any audience - from the academic to the casual reader to the high school or college student keen to tackle new and exciting material. He's a name to watch, and I'll be jotting it down to snap up his next work right away.
Regarding the storyline, the main thing that struck me about this book was the heroism of the slaves. It's a pretty incredible story, both in terms of their outright bravery and the high level of organization with which the revolt was conducted. Rasmussen also does a great job of bringing the story and the characters to life - my favorite character was definitely one of the revolt leaders, Charles Deslondes. As a Louisianan Creole slave driver with a slave mother and a plantation-owner father, he was able to build the trust of his master, and then use that trust to orchestrate the revolt. Fascinating! I also enjoyed learning more about the social fabric of New Orleans in 1811. Rasmussen exposes the underlying societal tensions and contradictions of the times, and it really made me stop and think about my own paradigms, and what it means to be American.
Overall - 5 stars for sure. And I really hope they make a movie of it! It would be something along the lines of a combination of Amistad and Braveheart... and it would be awesome.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I grew up in Louisiana steps from where this 1811 event occurred but we were never taught about it in school nor was it mentioned anywhere. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Lantana
I was interested in this book American Uprising because I find the whole idea of slavery repellent and am proud of my ancestors who fought against it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Eric B. Borgman
There as a lot of information in the book, but somewhat boring to read. A quick browsing of a Wikipedia site would give much of this information. Read morePublished 7 months ago by R.L.D.