Black Odyssey, The Case of the Slave Ship Amistad

by Mary Cable

Paperback, 1971




Penquin 1971/77 (1971)


In August of 1839, what appeared to be a listless "pirate ship", unidentified by any flag, was spotted off the North Atlantic coast of the United States. On board were thirty barely clad black men, all of whom wore cutlasses, and two white men -- Spanish slave owners with an incredible story to tell. A month earlier, the Amistad, as the ship was known, had set sail from Havana with a valuable cargo of slaves and $40,000 worth of gold doubloons -- and in a matter of days the captain and the cook were dead, and the ship was in the control of the slaves.Thus began "the Amistad affair", which, reports Mary Cable, "was to bedevil the diplomatic relations of the United States, Spain and England for a generation; intensify bitterness over the question of slavery; and at one of its most dramatic points, lead an ex-President (John Quincy Adams) to go before the Supreme Court and castigate the administration" in an eloquent plea for the slaves' freedom. In her fascinating and carefully researched account, Cable takes us right to the heart of these complex matters, dramatically replaying an amazing series of events that converged to form a uniquely exciting and challenging chapter in American history.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member msaucier818
This was a quick read that I am glad to have read, but did not enjoy all that much. It covers the story of the Amistad, but I never felt any real connection to any of the figures in the story. It tries to cover a great deal of the story in a very short book - from the events on the ship, to the Amistads' treatment in America, to the preparation for the trial, to the trial, to the two years following the trial where the Amistads had to raise money for their trip home, to the life and work of the missionaries who helped them, to the time when they return to Africa, etc... Quite a lot to talk about in 150 pages and I feel like each part was shortchanged a bit. If nothing else, the book makes me want to read more about John Quincy Adams.… (more)

Physical description

7.7 inches


0140046941 / 9780140046946

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