Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005 - History - 468 pages
93 Reviews
From the author of the prize-winning King Leopold's Ghost comes a taut, thrilling account of the first grass-roots human rights campaign, which freed hundreds of thousands of slaves around the world.
In 1787, twelve men gathered in a London printing shop to pursue a seemingly impossible goal: ending slavery in the largest empire on earth. Along the way, they would pioneer most of the tools citizen activists still rely on today, from wall posters and mass mailings to boycotts and lapel pins. This talented group combined a hatred of injustice with uncanny skill in promoting their cause. Within five years, more than 300,000 Britons were refusing to eat the chief slave-grown product, sugar; London's smart set was sporting antislavery badges created by Josiah Wedgwood; and the House of Commons had passed the first law banning the slave trade.
However, the House of Lords, where slavery backers were more powerful, voted down the bill. But the crusade refused to die, fueled by remarkable figures like Olaudah Equiano, a brilliant ex-slave who enthralled audiences throughout the British Isles; John Newton, the former slave ship captain who wrote "Amazing Grace"; Granville Sharp, an eccentric musician and self-taught lawyer; and Thomas Clarkson, a fiery organizer who repeatedly crisscrossed Britain on horseback, devoting his life to the cause. He and his fellow activists brought slavery in the British Empire to an end in the 1830s, long before it died in the United States. The only survivor of the printing shop meeting half a century earlier, Clarkson lived to see the day when a slave whip and chains were formally buried in a Jamaican churchyard.
Like Hochschild's classic King Leopold's Ghost, Bury the Chains abounds in atmosphere, high drama, and nuanced portraits of unsung heroes and colorful villains. Again Hochschild gives a little-celebrated historical watershed its due at last.
  

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Well researched and written. - Goodreads
A well written, easy to read, great book! - Goodreads
An excellent book, very well researched and written. - Goodreads
Hochschild is a great writer... - Goodreads
The richness of the research was astounding. - Goodreads

Review: Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves

User Review  - Patrick Dean - Goodreads

This is an excellent and fascinating account of one of the first social movements -- the effort to end the slave trade in the British Empire. It has thorough research and documentation as well as ... Read full review

Review: Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves

User Review  - Sharman Wilson - Goodreads

A riveting history of the British slave trade and the campaign to end it. I had learned about slavery through the lens of US history, and so my knowledge was limited to just a small part of the global ... Read full review

Contents

Twelve Men in a Printing Shop
1
WORLD OF BONDAGE
9
Many Golden Dreams
11
Atlantic Wanderer
30
Intoxicated with Liberty
41
King Sugar
54
A Tale of Two Ships
69
FROM TINDER TO FLAME
83
High Noon in Parliament
226
WAR AND REVOLUTION
239
Bleak Decade
241
At the Foot of Vesuvius
256
Redcoats Graveyard
280
These Gilded Africans
288
BURY THE CHAINS
297
A Side Wind
299

A Moral Steam Engine
85
The First Emancipation
98
I Questioned Whether I Should Even Get Out of It Alive
106
Am I Not a Man and a Brother?
122
A Place Beyond the Seas
143
Ramsay Is DeadI Have Killed Him
152
A WHOLE NATION CRYING WITH ONE VOICE
165
An EighteenthCentury Book Tour
167
The BloodSweetened Beverage
181
Promised Land
199
The Sweets of Liberty
213
Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?
309
Come Shout Oer the Grave
333
To Feed a Just Indignation
355
Where Was Equiano Born?
369
Source Notes
373
Bibliography
409
Acknowledgments
428
ILLUSTRATION CREDITS
431
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
468
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Adam Hochschild was born in New York City in 1942. His first book, Half the Way Home: a Memoir of Father and Son, was published in 1986. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times called it "an extraordinarily moving portrait of the complexities and confusions of familial love . . . firmly grounded in the specifics of a particular time and place, conjuring them up with Proustian detail and affection." It was followed by The Mirror at Midnight: a South African Journey, and The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin. His 1997 collection, Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels, won the PEN/Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award for the Art of the Essay. King Leopold's Ghost: a Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa was a finalist for the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award. It also won a J. Anthony Lukas award in the United States, and the Duff Cooper Prize in England. His books have been translated into twelve languages and four of them have been named Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. His Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves, was a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award in Nonfiction and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History. His last two books have also each won Canada’s Lionel Gelber Prize for the best book on international affairs and the Gold Medal of the California Book Awards. In 2005, he received a Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction.

Hochschild has written for The New Yorker, Harper's, The New York Review of Books, Granta, The New York Times Magazine, and many other newspapers and magazines. His articles have won prizes from the Overseas Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists and elsewhere. He was a co-founder of Mother Jones magazine and has been a commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."

Hochschild teaches narrative writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, and spent half a year as a Fulbright Lecturer in India. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, sociologist and author Arlie Russell Hochschild. They have two sons and two granddaughters.

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