The Great Stain: Witnessing American Slavery Audiobook, by Noel Rae Play Audiobook Sample

The Great Stain: Witnessing American Slavery Audiobook

The Great Stain: Witnessing American Slavery Audiobook, by Noel Rae Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Steven Crossley Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 16.50 hours at 1.5x Speed 12.38 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: February 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781538540077

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

121:50 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

39 seconds

Average Chapter Length:

46:30 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Publisher Description

Comprising personal accounts from an intensely consequential chapter in human history, the transatlantic slave trade, The Great Stain takes listeners from the depths of suffering to the heights of human dignity.

There have been numerous books about the why, when, and where of slavery in America, but there is a dearth of material exposing what slavery was actually like. In The Great Stain, researcher Noel Rae frames firsthand accounts from former slaves, slave owners, and even African slavers.

Rae exposes the commerce and culture of slavery, not only from an economic or moral standpoint but also through multitudinous perspectives within it: a young girl is beaten after being accused of stealing a piece of candy, a slave ship’s surgeon recounts brutal treatment and squalid conditions, an Englishman visiting Haiti observes as violent uprisings break out. So many viewpoints ensure that no historical blind spot will leave the picture of an era incomplete.

The Great Stain weaves a tapestry of good and evil, of greed and kindness, and of a civilization as it develops, evolves, and continues to move toward the future. More than that, the listener will encounter the complex economic underpinning of an entire society based on the exploitation of the cheapest labor.

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“To allow narrative voices, black and white, to come through, Rae draws on a remarkable assemblage of documents…as well as oral histories of former slaves and excerpts from the writings of free persons who lived in the South…The result is a uniquely immediate, multivoiced, specific, arresting, and illuminating look at life under slavery in America.”

— Booklist (starred review) 


  • “Narrator Steven Crossley’s deep, slightly raspy voice and English accent are instilled with a tone that evokes the voice-over of the classic British documentary.”

    — AudioFile
  • “Rae expertly assembles the most consequential accounts from the era of the American slave trade. Drawing on a wide range of sources, he frames a vivid and comprehensive picture of a period in American history about which many only have a vague understanding.”

    — Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award–winning author
  • “A moving, eye-opening account of the complexity and horror of human bondage. The testimony of slaves is particularly powerful…Essential. For all public, general, and undergraduate collections.”

    — Choice
  • “Covers the complete story of American slavery from the start of the transatlantic trade in the fifteenth century to slavery’s end…Highly recommended.”

    — Library Journal (starred review)
  • “This book and its wealth of documents and reports make a welcome, ready reference. Essential for students of American slavery and antebellum history.”

    — Kirkus Reviews

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About Noel Rae

Noel Rae, historian, received an honors degree in history from Oxford University. His books include, among others, The People’s War: Original Voices of the American Revolution, Witnessing America: The Library of Congress Book of Firsthand Accounts of Life in America, and This is Berlin: Radio Broadcasts from Nazi Germany.

About Steven Crossley

Steven Crossley, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, has built a career on both sides of the Atlantic as an actor and audiobook narrator, for which he has won more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a nominee for the prestigious Audie Award. He is a member of the internationally renowned theater company Complicite and has appeared in numerous theater, television, film, and radio dramas.