The Slave Trade
is a massive (900-page) book that attempts to document the entire history of the Atlantic slave trade, a sordid business that somehow prospered for more than four centuries. As the sheer heft of the book might indicate, the story is complicated. Much of the extensive research conducted by Hugh Thomas relates to rivalries both in Europe and Africa. Those who wonder how slavery could have existed in the United States may find revelatory the moral ambiguity of how the business of transporting slaves was conducted.
From School Library Journal
YA-Thomas concentrates on the economics, social acceptance, and politics of the slave trade. The scope of the book is amazingly broad as the author covers virtually every aspect of the subject from the early days of the 16th century when great commercial houses were set up throughout Europe to the 1713 Peace Treaty of Utrecht, which gave the British the right to import slaves into the Spanish Indies. The account includes the anti-slavery patrols of the 19th century and the final decline and abolition in the early 20th century. Through the skillful weaving of numerous official reports, financial documents, and firsthand accounts, Thomas explains how slavery was socially acceptable and shows that people and governments everywhere were involved in itAfrom African kings and Arab slave traders to the Europeans and Americans who bought and transported them to the New World. Despite the volatility of the subject, the author remains emotionally detached in his writing, yet produces a highly readable, informative book. A superb addition to YA collections.Robert Burnham, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
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