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Freedom Burning: Anti-Slavery and Empire in Victorian Britain 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0801451089
ISBN-10: 0801451086
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Editorial Reviews


In this very rich and engaging study, Richard Huzzey examines the role of anti-slavery
ideology in British public life during the two-thirds of a century that followed the 1834 emancipation
of all slaves held by Europeans in the British empire. . . . As a scholarly undertaking, Freedom Burning is a mixture of historical synthesis (making generally excellent use of a very wide range of secondary sources) and original research. . . . Huzzey deserves congratulations for a masterful account of one of the most important conjunctures between modern overseas expansion and domestic European history.―Itinerario (April 2013)

"Huzzey's thorough research and argument show the complicated, often contradictory ways 'the British state was tranformed...from the patron of slavery to its determined enemy'.... Huzzey's book is a valuable addition to the studies of slavery, the British Empire, and nineteenth-century British history.... He has produced a book that all students of slavery and British imperialism in the nineteenth century should read."―Patrick Brantlinger, Canadian Journal of History (Autumn 2013)

"[Far] less literature is devoted to the vital 'what next' question for British abolitionists. This learned, well-researched book by Richard Huzzey explores that question, in the process offering great insight on the nature of antislavery ideology and politics as well as on Victorian politics and empire.... This reviewer remains uncomfortable with the complexity of it all. That however, is but one of the many reasons this is an excellent book that deserves a wide scholarly audience."―Matthew Mason, The Journal of Southern History (February 2014)

"Huzzey has written a persuasive account of how British antislavery ideology became imperial practice. The book will be invaluable to students of antislavery in the United States who wish to understand the complexity and unexpected results of the same set of beliefs that caused the American Civil War. And for those who wish to more fully understand the transatlantic dimensions of this era, Huzzey's book offers insights that will continue to provoke."―Edward B. Rugemer, Journal of the Civil War Era (September 2014)

"Huzzey's important bookis the strongest survey to date of the role of British anti-slavery politics in the Foreign Office, domestic reform campaigns, and the development of British-chartered companies in Africa in the Victorian era. His elegantly written narrative brings these facets of British anti-slavery into focus and leaves no doubt that anti-slavery was a persistent inspiration, if only occasionally a decisive factor, amongleading figures in British foreign, domestic, and imperial politics."―Kevin Grant, Victorian Studies (Spring 2015)

"For the first time in generations, someone has placed British anti-slavery in its widest political context to show how it came to dominate British politics in the nineteenth century. Freedom Burning is a wide-ranging, closely argued, and well-written history of the British commitment to anti-slavery. By putting politics front and center, Richard Huzzey successfully unravels the many legacies of the struggle against slavery and the slave trade and its global reach throughout the reign of Queen Victoria."―Richard J. M. Blackett, Andrew Jackson Professor of History, Vanderbilt University, author of Building an Antislavery Wall: Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement, 1830-1860

"In the innovative and intriguing Freedom Burning, Richard Huzzey explores the global continuities and complexities of anti-slavery as ideology and policy, bridging the end of the 'heroic' period of British anti-slavery and the dawn of the twentieth century. The time span coincides with Victoria’s long reign and the apogee of Great Britain’s maritime and terrestrial global empire. Huzzey brings alive the interplay of British moral sentiments and symbols in relation to metropolitan realities through the voices of journalists, politicians, and government officials. The persistence, power, limitations, and contradictions of the long conversation in anti-slavery lie at the heart of this book."―Seymour Drescher, University Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh, author of Abolition: A History of Slavery and Antislavery

"Freedom Burning gives us a new understanding of what it means to describe Britain after emancipation as an anti-slavery nation with an anti-slavery state and an anti-slavery empire. In this insightful book Richard Huzzey makes a powerful case for both the depth of anti-slavery sentiment and its deeply contradictory implications."―Catherine Hall, University College London, author of Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830–1867

"Freedom Burning presents a brilliant, subtle, and comprehensive picture of the underexamined later history of British anti-slavery ideology, after the seeming success and then economic failure of British colonial slave emancipation, when anti-slavery, ironically, gave new life to British racial prejudice and played a central role in the politics of Britain's expanding empire. With admirable clarity and objectivity, Richard Huzzey illuminates the 'messy, bloody, dirty, and confused process' by which British anti-slavery sentiment became truly nationalized."―David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor Emeritus and founder and Director Emeritus of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Yale University, and author most recently of Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World

"In Freedom Burning, Richard Huzzey launches a provocative and beautifully written statement of the importance of antislavery as the motive force of British imperial policy and expansion. His study spans not only an extraordinarily ambitious range of imperial sites, from the West Indies to West Africa to East Africa, but also an extended time period, running the length of the nineteenth century. The book thus connects colony with metropole and the emancipation period with the race for Africa." ―Nicholas Draper, University College London, Journal of British Studies (July 2013)

About the Author

Richard Huzzey is Lecturer in History at Plymouth University.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801451086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801451089
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,758,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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on August 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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