- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (December 29, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0517703289
- ISBN-13: 978-0517703281
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,882,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie: An African American's Spiritual Journey to Uncover a Sunken Slave Ship's Past Hardcover – December 29, 1998
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For most Afro-Americans, the slave ship was the vessel that ushered their unwilling ancestors from their homeland to the New World. That is why this thrilling book by Michael Cottman resonates with such horror and history, as he uncovers the sordid tale of the Henrietta Marie, which sailed from London to West Africa and on to America, where it sank at Key West, three centuries ago. In an emotional narrative that combines scuba diving; American, Caribbean, and African history; and underwater archeology, Cottman's descriptions of the ship's discovery, the horrible instruments of bondage which the Africans were forced to endure, and the soul-killing greed that dehumanized the Europeans who participated in this hellish "business," make this an unforgettable read. "I needed to know about the man who had captained the Henrietta Marie," Cottman writes. "The ironmongers who had manufactured the shackles for the ship; the crewmen who had set the sails and help navigate the 120-ton vessel from London to Africa; the deckhands who had enslaved the Africans as part of their daily duties, men who had showed no remorse in senselessly slaughtering rebellious human beings in the time it takes to think." --Eugene Holley Jr.
From Publishers Weekly
Journalist and scuba diver Cottman (The Million Man March) gives readers a very personal account of how diving to see a wreck inspired him to dive deeper into the history of the slave trade and still deeper into his own relationship to the memory of those who were brought to America as slaves. In the summer of 1700, the Henrietta Marie, a ship sailing from Port Royal, Jamaica, where the captain had just delivered 190 African slaves, hit a storm and sank not far from Key West. In 1993, 20 years after the wreck had been discovered, Cottman and other black divers made an underwater pilgrimage to the ship and deposited a memorial with a bronze plaque honoring their enslaved ancestors. Cottman's further exploration into the history of the Henrietta Marie took him to London, where he researched the slave trade, and to Jamaica, where he met the descendants of slaves who may have been on the ship. Cottman expresses a spiritual connection with the enslaved human cargo, a feeling that peaked during his second visit to Goree Island, off the coast of West Africa, to see the remains of a slave house where captured Africans were held before export. His book is primarily a meditation on his spiritual solidarity with his enslaved forebears and works best when he resists his impulse toward didacticism and easy uplift: "You didn't have to attend the Million Man March to carry the spirit in your heart," he reports telling a Senegalese acquaintance. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Alas, the subject got lost by the author's personal thoughts which were inconsistent.
The facts could have spoken for themselves and made this a very powerful book. Perhaps someone will do the book that could have been.