An important book that not only shows how the slave trade operated, but also provides a clearer picture of the victims’...




A history of how captives purchased in Africa for transport on the slave ship Hare managed to maintain a community after being sold into slavery.

What information is available pertains to the Newport, Rhode Island, ship owned by the brothers Samuel and William Vernon and captained by Caleb Godfrey. Rhode Island was the slave-trading capital of British America, and the selling of slaves was Newport’s primary economic activity. No logbook survives of this voyage, from 1754 to 1755, and Kelley (History/Univ. of Essex; Los Brazos de Dios: A Plantation Society in the Texas Borderlands, 1821-1865, 2010, etc.) had to piece together information based on similar voyages. He admits that he could never identify the captives either by name or birthplace, since much of what we know comes from the nonenslaved. Kelley chronicles their fates from the viewpoints of the ship’s master, those in Africa who provided the captives, and those who eventually sold them in South Carolina. Godfrey sailed to what was called Upper Guinea and procured his cargo, not from a single purveyor but from private traders up and down the coast. Although slaves were taken from different villages, many shared knowledge of the broad group of Mande languages, which gave them at least a sense of community. After buying a few dozen slaves, the Hare crossed to Barbados in only 20 days and then to Charles Town, where the slaves were sold, either by auction or by “scramble,” where buyers just grabbed those they wanted. The most interesting part of the book is the author’s discussion of the attempts—and successes—by these slaves, either in plantations or the city, to stay in contact with their shipmates and with those who spoke Mande.

An important book that not only shows how the slave trade operated, but also provides a clearer picture of the victims’ origins, language, and methods of survival.

Pub Date: May 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4696-2768-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Univ. of North Carolina

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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