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Slavery in the Arab World Paperback – April 21, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
This is honestly in part due to translation, which Gordon can't be blamed for. There were parts of the book where one could tell that there was an obvious translation error from the French, where the word or phrase wasn't used quite the correct way it is supposed to be used in English. However, numerous times Gordon also contradicts his own thoughts, making for confusing reading. As he himself admits, much of the research itself is contradictory, but he could have done a better job of weeding through the research, and his editor a better job of clearing up contradictions before publication.
I still recommend this, because it is such important information, and there is so little out there. This book should be seen as important first broadside in understanding an important part of our history. There was so much information here that I had never before known. I had no idea the slave trade continued across Sahara until 1920's, and slavery still allowed in the Middle East until 1970's. Gordon gives amazing details on the horrible atrocities committed under this institution, like emasculation of children. His scholarship is quite good- he rightly faults past researchers who were so against slavery that they made the problem bigger than it was. So, for instance, Gordon shows how the emasculation death rate of 99% is exaggerated by far, it being closer to only a 90% death rate.Read more ›
As someone who has family from the slave catchment areas in East Africa, it was interesting to read the accounts and reports of the events my grandfather would describe in his tales.
A thoroughly good read... and a much needed education for all those who thought the european trans-atlantic slave trade was the worst there ever was.
While the Islamic slave trade was generally less severe compared to that of Christendom, it still had its savage moments. This came mostly when slaves were captured and then transported across the Sahara Desert. Many died from the intense heat of the day and then the bitter cold of the night. That, and the lack of water the slave dealers refused to provide (Or Underestimated For The Long Journey) made the attrition rate quite high. However, once they reached their destinations, the captives were treated fairly well. Too, their chances of being manummited were much higher whilst with Arabs. Contast this with the Antebellum South where an African slave was a slave until the day he/she died and you will see how different things were with the Arabs.
This book has a chapter that discusses how slaves became warriors and men in positions of power, often being looked to to settle disputes among rival houses. Slaves were for the most part domiciled in the home where they were put to use by both men and women. Slave-girls were used as concubines for the pleasure of men while slave men were used for various work purposes in and around the Arab household. Many male slaves were put to work in mines--especially salt mines (See The Chapter On The Revolts), rarely were slaves (As Was The Case In The Americas) beaten and brutalized.
I don't remember reading anywhere in this book about infanticide. One Three-Star reviewer (W. Mailloux) complained about infanticide being alluded to but as anyone who studies religion will tell you, infanticide is expressly forbidden by Christianity and Islam.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book gives an unflinching view of the horrors of slavery in the Arab world, and by necessity, touches on slavery in the wider Islamic world as well. Read morePublished 6 months ago by N.E. Falconer
Excellent.....A must read if you want to understand slavery.Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
The book is a little bit old and does not integrate what was discovered since its first publication in Paris (in French) or in the USA. Read morePublished on April 13, 2014 by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
Extremely informative although some translation errors or poor phraseology occasionally exist which take repeat reading. Read morePublished on March 25, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Murray Gordon did an excellent job in describing the history of slavery in the Arab world. The book was coherent, easy to grasp, & interesting. Read morePublished on December 18, 2013 by Seeker
The author uncovers a nugget of information (infanticide) then quickly pulls it back from view (kinder and gentler, household servants, etc.) for pages and pages. Read morePublished on November 28, 2009 by Twelve Twenty Nine
This is an excellent work that explores an area of African slavery that has been for too long ignored. Gordon presents a lucid, credible thesis in a very readable format. Read morePublished on February 5, 2009 by K. Nehil
The Arab enslavement of African people predates the European African slave trade by a millennium and it is still going on today in the Sudan. Read morePublished on December 19, 2005 by Amazon Customer