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Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route Paperback – January 22, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this rousing narrative, Berkeley professor Hartman traces first-hand the progress of her ancestors-forced migrants from the Gold Coast-in order to illuminate the history of the Atlantic slave trade. Chronicling her time in Ghana following the overland slave route from the hinterland to the Atlantic, Hartman admits early on to a naïve search for her identity: "Secretly I wanted to belong somewhere or, at least, I wanted a convenient explanation of why I felt like a stranger." Fortunately, Hartman eschews the simplification of such a quest, finding that Africa's American expatriates often find themselves more lost than when they started. Instead, Hartman channels her longing into facing tough questions, nagging self-doubt and the horrors of the Middle Passage in a fascinating, beautifully told history of those millions whose own histories were revoked in "the process by which lives were destroyed and slaves born." Shifting between past and present, Hartman also considers the "afterlife of slavery," revealing Africa-and, through her transitive experience, America-as yet unhealed by de-colonization and abolition, but showing signs of hope. Hartman's mix of history and memoir has the feel of a good novel, told with charm and passion, and should reach out to anyone contemplating the meaning of identity, belonging and homeland.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Hartman journeys along the route taken by captured slaves from the interior of what is now Ghana to the Atlantic coast. With no specific trail to follow from her own lineage, Hartman views her search as a coming to terms with her status as stranger and wanderer in the African diaspora. She meets African American expatriates who have been living in Ghana for 20 years, not fully integrated in Africa but alienated from America. She also meets Ghanians who deride or exploit the desperate longing they see in the throngs of black Americans who visit the slave castles each year. She explores the perspective on slaves and slavery held by Africans versus the African American view and how those perspectives affect diasporan efforts to reconnect and to reckon with history. Reflecting on the complex history of slavery, Hartman integrates memories of her own family's journey to become African Americans from the Middle Passage through the Caribbean to the U.S. An eloquent and thoughtful look at the Atlantic slave trade and its resounding impact on the African American psyche. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (January 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374531153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374531157
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What "Roots" was to the Boomer Generation, "Lose Your Mother" could and should be to the Generation Next. Saidiay Hartman's writing styles fits perfectly for a generation that longs for and loves narrative, story, and first-hand journal accounts.

However, no one should thus assume that Hartman's writing lacks research credibility for she brilliantly weaves both rousing narrative and copious research to portray a powerful picture of one of history's ugliest stories: Middle Passage. She provides a fresh account of ancient wounds.

Hartman's book can and should make a renewed contribution to the healing of past hurts which still linger deep. Her passionate style and scholarly depth can help a nation move beyond suffering to healing hope.

Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction , Soul Physicians, and Spiritual Friends.
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Format: Hardcover
A deeply moving combination of history, personal memoir and deep reflection,particularly on the heroic and aspirational legacy of slavery as seen by this wonderful writer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is something about the way she writes that just has a way of piercing your heart at its core. Her writing is honest and straightforward. i feel like she wrote this book for me that's how deeply I connected with it. As a daughter of the diaspora, a daughter of the enslaved, i appreciate this book so much. No, my wounds aren't healed but I feel like I can move on to healing and take the next generation on to healing and moving forward with the knowledge that I have gained from this book. The ancestors would be proud.
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Format: Hardcover
Saidiya Hartman takes us on a journey that is intense, tough and thoroughly rewarding. Impressively, she learned as much about herself as she did about the past she sought, even more.

The beauty of going with her on this journey is that the reader has the same magnificent opportunity, hypnotically led by the author, to ponder and to gain personal insight perhaps too long submerged.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thank you for your wonderful book. I enjoyed it immensely. Your look at the slave trade from the point of view of the commoner IS much needed and provides lots more data on a subject that is often described and presented in ONLY the top down, objective, sterile, them vs. us manner. The information from the bottom, in my mind, is richer. It allows everyday people the luxury of participating in the discussion. They can't say, "I don't know," "I was not involved." Few are correct. When evil is around, all are impacted, then and now. The Transatlantic Slave Trade was that type of evil. Your representation of it is much needed.

I am only now in 2015 reading your book. I am sure your thinking has deepened from your experiences of traveling the slave route AND meeting the descendants. As a black American, I too experience the lingering, un-articulated feelings of "alien," "stranger" in the midst of everybody. Like you, I watch many people, of all races and colors in the US and else where, try to separate them self from the slave trade. It was not me, it was my ancestors, "they say." Your work allows ALL to grapple with the visual and non-visual clues in our midst that the hurt, pain and longing of "losing your mother" is very real and present in contemporary life. We are nowhere near post-racial.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A disturbing, compelling look at one person's attempt to recover and reconnect to their past. It patterned attempts by others who had set out on similar journeys, but the conditioning over generations were too powerful and deep seated. This is a wonderful book.Its descriptions of enslavement are chilling and impactful written by someone with a insightful touch. I loved it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you take the time to read this book you will learn more about the story of the Afrikan than anything MLK or any civil rights figure has ever told or pretended to know..This is the real story and unfortunately it did not begin in Ghana, which is why we as Afrikan desc must teach our children the other story as well The one about Abrahams roots and the history of Arabs enslavement of his bredren have fun!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Saidiya weaves a compelling story of the search for one's identity while trying to make sense of the horrors of the slave trade. Her vivid descriptions of the infamous slave castles, combined with a uncanny ability to put you in chains with the slaves waiting for the slavers, create vivid mental images that simultaneously make you want to put the book down and keep reading. Her material is well researched and moves you back and forth from the present to the past to the present, all within the context of a search we all need to take.
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