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Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and Its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy Paperback – November 20, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0195038293 ISBN-10: 0195038290 Edition: Reissue

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Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and Its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy + Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s Through the 1980s
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (November 20, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195038290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195038293
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this well-crafted narrative Jones has fleshed out what was heretofore a footnote in the history of the American antislavery movement. The cause of the small band of black slaves who had mutinied during transport off Cuba and eventually washed up on Long Island (1839) temporarily united disparate factions of the fledgling abolitionist movement. Besides raising fundamental legal questions about the relevance of slavery and race to the American conception of liberty, the Amistad affair adversely affected relations between the United States and Spain and forced President Van Buren into improper interference with the judicial process. A key volume for scholars of 19th-century America and for specialists in the abolitionist movement. Thomas E. Schott, Office of History, Engineering Installation Division, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"A nearly flawless historical study of an important episode in American diplomatic, legal, political, and ethnic history; Mutiny on the Amistad raises important questions in all of these fields and is highly recommended reading."--Journal of American Ethnic History


"Mutiny on the Amistad is based on thorough research and provides excellent and detailed coverage of its subject. It makes important contributions both to the history of slavery and to abolition, especially on the legal aspects of each."--Journal of Southern History


"[A] well-documented study of the Amistad affair....Lively."--The New York Review of Books


"An analysis of an important moment in American history that casts a light upon politics and society during the preceding half-century, back to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and similarly illumines the approaching Civil War."--The National Review


"An impressive piece of work....A well organized book, handsomely illustrated, generously documented....Valuable and illuminating."--Civil War History


"A rousing and satisfying tale, and it is well worth hearing it again in this careful and thoughtful telling."--American Heritage



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Customer Reviews

This IS one dry, boring book.
Michael E. Fitzgerald
Each time an argument is referred to, however, Jones restates it in full rather than assuming his reader had read the preceding chapter or has some attention span.
Rick Hunter
If you are writing an IN DEPTH paper on the Amistad mutiny, you have found your book.
ZigZagJoe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Diane Schirf on February 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Mutiny on the Amistad: The Saga of a Slave Revolt and Its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy by Howard Jones.
In July 1839, a group of Africans that had been illegally imported into Cuba used violence to take over the Amistad while it was transporting them from Havana to Puerto Príncipe. In August, the Amistad and the Africans were seized off Long Island. These events set off a judicial, legislative, and diplomatic battle that would not be completely resolved until the Civil War ended slavery in the United States. Mutiny on the Amistad looks at the laws, issues, and people involved in this landmark case.
The key questions are: Who has jurisdiction over the case? Are the Africans legally slaves? If so, who has the rights to them? Are they "salvage," like the Amistad? Will the case worsen the relations with Spain and strengthen Great Britain's claims in Cuba? Will it become the catalyst the abolitionists need to give them and their cause credibility with the northern public? And how will Martin Van Buren's administration deal with such a controversial case in a re-election year?
While the case attracted the attention of abolitionists like Arthur and Lewis Tappan and John Quincy Adams; the administration of Martin Van Buren and even those of some of his successors; and several governments, including those of Spain and Great Britain, Jones's repetitive treatment of the story robs it of much of its drama. For example, he makes the declarative statement that the Van Buren administration's focus was solely on re-election and ensuring the Amistad case did not interfere with that objective more than a dozen times.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have not seen the movie yet, but I plan to to get a better idea of the events. Jones' accounting of the legal procceedings seems very repetitive, and overshadows the human element in the story. He could have done much more with the facts than simply repeat them, using barely any adjectives. But his account is very accurate and gives a good picture of the government's feeling toward slavery at that time.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Yanni on May 7, 2000
Format: Library Binding
I saw the movie, and it performed its function well: it piqued my interest. But, of course, being a dramatization, it was not bound by little things like facts; it took the basic story, and made it as interesting and dramatic as possible.
This caused me to develop an interest in the subject, and a curiosity as to what the actual truth of the story was, and this book served admirably to answer that question.
If you're interested in an entertaining story that has drama, characterization, and closure, see the movie. But if you're interested in historical facts, and literal truth rather than symbolic truth, read this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rick Hunter on November 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
Steven Spielberg's movie Amistad won high critical acclaim, my wife and I included, for its insightful and inspiring portrayal of a relatively minor yet bellwether event in our history. Because I wanted to learn more, I picked up Howard Jones' Mutiny on the Amistad from the remainder table of my local bookstore. I must say I was disappointed. Jones succeeded in saying in 215 academically-bloated pages what perhaps could be told in half the length. As a lawyer, I am interested in and readily follow legal arguments, which is most of what Jones endeavors to recount. Each time an argument is referred to, however, Jones restates it in full rather than assuming his reader had read the preceding chapter or has some attention span. This fills a book already made ponderous by academic style and language. This book reads like a PhD dissertation; if, in fact, it was, I'm sure Jones deserves his degree, but I'm not confident he should win readers outside the ivory tower.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mutiny on the Amistad by Dr. Howard Jones is an exceptional piece of historical research. For the reader who wishes to read an exceptional historical treatise buy the book. One fully comprehends the the roles of Spain, England, the United States and the cruelty of the slave trade. After reading this book one can comprehend how race initially was and still is a significant factor in the cultural life and politics of the United States. Dr. Jones is to be congratulated for a balance historical presentation and insightful view of cultural history as well...if you are seriously interested in the events of the Amistad and the world that created this incident, you will greatly appreciate Dr. Jones' scholarship. I am grateful that a serious historian has given us such a fine account of the Amistad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ZigZagJoe on August 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book has a lot of info presented in a sensible order but is obscenely dry and hard to read. Goes on for far too long, book could have been 1/3 the length and the same amount of information gotten across. No original thesis; it's just a compilation of data.

If you are writing an IN DEPTH paper on the Amistad mutiny, you have found your book. For anything else, it's rubbish. You can get a better overview off Wikipedia.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
I had a chance to meet Dr. Jones this past January and read his book. He teaches us in his superb telling of this story that sometimes Historians are couragous for telling parts of history the mainstream would rather forget.
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