The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World

TitleThe Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsGrandin, Greg
Number of Pages390
PublisherHenry Holt
CityNew York
Abstract

One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, climbed aboard a distressed Spanish ship carrying scores of West Africans who appeared to be slaves. They weren't. Having earlier seized control of the vessel and slaughtered most of the crew, they were staging an elaborate ruse. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception--that the men and women he thought were slaves were actually running the ship--he responded with explosive violence. Drawing on research on four continents, historian Greg Grandin explores the multiple forces that culminated in this extraordinary event--an event that inspired Herman Melville's masterpiece "Benito Cereno". Here, Grandin uses the dramatic happenings of that day to map a new transnational history of slavery in the Americas, capturing the clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was the New World in the early 1800s. [WorldCat]

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