Book Review – ‘The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic odyssey of slavery and freedom’ by Marcus Rediker

By John McAleer, published November 2020


The genesis of Marcus Rediker’s new book is almost as complex as the incident it charts. In many ways, the book under review was directly inspired by Rediker’s hugely successful 2007 book, The Slave Ship. For all its critical acclaim, however, that book told a grim history of almost unrelenting human suffering on an industrial scale. The Amistad Rebellion was written as a response to that, in an effort to provide what Rediker calls a more ‘hopeful counterpoint to a gruesome history’ (p. 239). At first glance a single episode in the long history of the transatlantic slave trade might not appear to offer sufficient material to achieve this laudable objective. But Rediker is one of the leading scholars of Atlantic history, and the event he focuses on had ramifications far beyond the single ship involved….

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Filed under: Atlantic | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

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