For more than three
centuries, slave ships carried millions of people from the coasts of Africa
across the Atlantic to the New World. Much is known of the slave trade and the
American plantation complex, but little of the ships that made it all possible.
In The Slave Ship, award-winning historian Marcus Rediker draws on thirty
years of research in maritime archives to create an unprecedented history of
these vessels and the human drama acted out on their rolling decks. He
reconstructs in chilling detail the lives, deaths, and terrors of captains,
sailors, and the enslaved aboard a “floating dungeon” trailed by sharks. From
the young African kidnapped from his village and sold to the slavers by a
neighboring tribe to the would-be priest who takes a job as a sailor on a
slave ship only to be horrified by the evil he sees to the captain who
relishes having “a hell of my own,” Rediker illuminates the lives of people who
were thought to have left no trace.
This is a tale of tragedy and
terror, but also an epic of resilience, survival, and the creation of something
entirely new, something that could only be called African American. Rediker
restores the slave ship to its rightful place alongside the plantation as a
formative institution of slavery, as a place where a profound and still
haunting history of race, class, and modern capitalism was made. Download and start listening now!