The slave trade : the history of the Atlantic slave trade, 1440-1870

by Hugh Thomas

Paperback, 1999




New York : Touchstone, 1999.


Chronicles the history of the African slave trade by Portugal, Brazil, Great Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United States, from the first Portuguese slaving expeditions, through the abolitionist movements, to the final days of the trade in Cuba and Brazil. Includes who the slavers and abolitionists were, how profitable the business was, the African rulers and peoples who collaborated, the towns which grew rich on the trade, and more.

User reviews

LibraryThing member J.v.d.A.
I had to abandon this book about four hundred pages in as I just couldn't take the pedestrian style any longer. With such a subject I had presumed the writer would have a wealth of interesting informtion and stories to include but the book read like a text book, heavy on the facts and figures but
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scant on the characters and atmosphere.
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LibraryThing member gmcmahon
I've admired Hugh Thomas as an historian since first reading his history of the Spanish civil war in the early 1980s. That particular study, first published in 1977, was arguably the first true attempt in English to unravel the complexities of a conflict still very much within living memory. It
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succeeded because its thesis did not rely on the shibboleths of the political left and right. Instead it presented its arguments through the primary sources that Thomas's undoubted language skills allowed him to access. The same thorough approach was deployed in writing this history. The subject is vast and any analysis will be contentious yet Thomas succeeds in writing a history that satisfies, both in its accessibility and balance. Although focusing specifically on the Atlantic slave trade, Thomas places it within the context of an inglorious history common to most human civilisation.
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LibraryThing member EricCostello
Exhaustive (nearly literally) examination of the Atlantic slave trade from the years before Columbus, up to the years after American Emancipation. Surprisingly balanced; it's also surprising that in general the colonies and the United States get off fairly lightly, compared to the English, the
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Portuguese, French and Dutch. Not to say the US doesn't get some heat, but the figures in the back of the book on the totality of the slave trade across the Atlantic are quite surprising. An interesting, if very long, read. (The footnotes really should have been in larger type, though, as it's very hard to find them in the main text.)
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