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Bound with an Iron Chain: The Untold Story of How the British Transported 50,000 Convicts to Colonial America Paperback – June 30, 2011

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Bound with an Iron Chain: The Untold Story of How the British Transported 50,000 Convicts to Colonial America + White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"A fascinating, detailed, and eye-opening look at a little-discussed historical phenomenon."
-Devoney Looser, Professor of English and 18th-Century Studies, University of Missouri

"A skillful blend of historical accuracy and engaging narrative."
-Robert Wilhelm, MurderByGaslight.com

"This is a great book. . . . Vaver recalls to life the 50,000 colonists you were supposed to forget all about."
-Jason Zanon, ExecutedToday.com

"Read it and be absorbed by the dark side of early America."
-Lucy Inglis, GeorgianLondon.com

About the Author

Anthony Vaver is the author of the Amazon bestselling books, Bound with an Iron Chain and Early American Criminals and writes and publishes EarlyAmericanCrime.com, a website that explores crime, criminals, and punishments from America's past. He has a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and an M.L.S. from Rutgers University. He has never spent a night in jail, but he was once falsely accused of shoplifting.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Pickpocket Publishing (June 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098367440X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983674405
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anthony Vaver is the author of the Amazon bestselling books, "Early American Criminals" and "Bound with an Iron Chain: The Untold Story of How the British Transported 50,000 Convicts to Colonial America." He is also the author and publisher of EarlyAmericanCrime.com, a website that explores crime, criminals, and punishments from America's past. He has a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and an M.L.S. from Rutgers University. He has never spent a night in jail, but was once falsely accused of shoplifting.

Photo 1: At Blackfriars in London, where transported convicts began their journey to America.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ball-Family on August 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book isn't just a wonderful read for history or genealogy buffs it's also a surprising treat for those who enjoy a good true crime story. I also highly recommend this for anyone who simply wants to read GOOD writing and learn about one of America and England's dark little secrets.

Anthony Vaver keeps this book moving at a quick, enjoyable and organized pace. There was never a moment that I felt annoyed with useless, dry, or boring content; I wanted to keep reading and find out what happened next. Each historical fact was effortlessly intertwined with the real life stories of death-pardoned convicts transported to England's dumping ground - the shores of America.

Finally, as a genealogist myself, I must give kudos to Mr. Vaver for doing such a find job with his Acknowledgements.

Thank you for a most excellent read Mr. Vaver.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Wejwer on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was interesting to discover this segment of American history that I had never heard of before. The author did a good job of making the narrative come alive by interspersing the factual information with the personal histories of individuals who actually were convicted in England and were sentenced to transportation to the colonies. Because each chapter is complete in itself, I think that this book could be a good "hook" for the reluctant high school history student. Some of these true stories are better than any fiction!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Key Largo on September 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recently found out that my great great great great grandfather was sent to America in 1771 for a crime of stealing ribbon, in London. He arrived on a convict ship later that year.. This book was an eyeopener as to what some of our ancestors went through in the early Colonial America. Those arriving on prison ships and being sold as slaves as their punishment. It is a very readable book. Informative and well written. I would recommend to anyone that is interested in white slavery in early America.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By stephanie clayton on March 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must have for anyone interested in American history. This book has given me a more definite portrait of my convict ancestor and what his life must have been like. The book is exceptionally well written and researched. Well done Mr. Vaver and THANK YOU!
S.Clayton
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. R. Morris on December 22, 2013
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Vaver captivatingly relates a relatively unknown facet of American history.

"Between 1700 and 1775, a total of 585,800 immigrants arrived in the 13 colonies from all over the world. About 52,200 of these immigrants were convicts and prisoners (9%). Slaves by far constituted the largest group (278,400; 47%), followed by people arriving with their freedom (151,600; 26%) and indentured servants (96,600; 18%). Note that almost three-quarters of all the people arriving in the American colonies during this time period did so without their freedom" (p. 7).

As Vaver explains "transportation," he enthralls the readers with tales of notorious criminals mixed with pathos for the more innocent caught in the flawed web of what passed for 18th Century British justice. Against a backdrop peopled with criminals like the notorious Jonathan Wild and Moll King, Vaver relates stories lesser known, such as the story of a twelve year old child, Elizabeth Howard, who, in 1728, stole a small quantity of ribbon and lace. Caught and imprisoned, Elizabeth stood trial and was convicted of felony theft: a hanging offense. While awaiting execution in Newgate prison, Elizabeth petitioned that her sentence be commuted to "transportation" to the American colonies. Her petitioned worked, and she was to be released on account of her young age. Unfortunately, Elizabeth died before she was released. (pp. 90-91 & 97-98).

When I bought this book, I expected to read about convicts being sent to Georgia. Vaver explains the origins of that misconception and then surprisingly reveals that most convicts sent to the colonies were landed and sold in Maryland and Virginia. It's a very good and informative book. And while it's in no manner Vaver's thesis, Vaver's book should serve as a cautionary tale to those who would rely on "privatization" (free enterprise} to mete out criminal punishment.
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By Rainy Day on July 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
My biggest complaint in reading this book is the author's use of end notes! (see: [...] If you don't read footnotes or end notes, then you probably don't read much nonfiction.

I knew convicts had been sent to the Colonies, but had no idea so many, or why. I naively thought it was a choice -- go and get a second chance, or stay and face a worse fate. I knew the colonies in Australia were true penal colonies, but here the convicts came as indentured servants, or slaves for a finite period of time, 7 or 14 years. Some owners/masters were cruel, some were not. Some convicts escaped, and some became model citizens.

Way back then, a starving child who stole a piece of bread could be, and often was, sentenced to death. Certainly not the 'good old days' many opine for. This book brings to life many of the convicts of the time, some of whom survived the ocean voyage. It is a part of American History that isn't taught in the schools, and has had ramifications on our judicial system through the years.

It is a fascinating read, well written (except for the end notes!), and worth your investment in both time and money.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fran on August 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Several years ago I researched in London and found court records on a man with my maiden name who was transported in 1723. Believing my ancestors are from Cornwall, I talked with researchers in Cornwall, and they had no knowledge of felons being transported to the Colonies, only to Australia. I have looked for some one with knowledge of these transportations ever since. My ancestor (direct or collateral, I do not know) was transported, but I cannot find what happened to him after arriving in Maryland (I know he arrived from the passenger list of his ship, The Alexander). This book gives an excellent background on the transportation to the Colonies but still hasn't given me specific clues to research. However, I enjoyed gaining the knowledge of the times in Great Britain and the US and its a great read...I am still looking for my ancestor.
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