The Trader, the Owner, the Slave: Parallel Lives in the Age of Slavery
With a rich component of personal testimony, this is a unique and dramatic book about the Atlantic slave trade.
There has been nothing like the Atlantic slave trade. Its scope and the ways in which it has shaped the modern world are so far-reaching as to make it almost ungraspable. By examining the lives of three individuals caught up in the enterprise of human enslavement -- a trader, an owner and a slave -- James Walvin offers a new and an original interpretation of the barbaric world of slavery and of its historic end in April 1807.
John Newton (1725-1807), best-known as the writer of "Amazing Grace," was a slave captain who marshalled his human cargoes with a brutality that he looked back on with shame and contrition. Thomas Thistlewood (1721-1786), lived his life in a remote corner of western Jamaica, and his unique diary provides some of the most revealing images of a slave-owner's life in the most valuable of all British slave colonies. Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797), was practically unknown thirty years ago, but is now an iconic figure in black history and his experience as a slave speaks out for the lives of millions who went unrecorded.
All three men were contemporaries; they even came close to each other at different points of the Atlantic compass. But what held them together, in its destructive gravitational pull, was the Atlantic slave system.