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Book Review: The Empire of Necessity

 

Sin it is, no less… it puts out the sun at noon
– Herman Melville on slavery

 

Book review: The Empire of Necessity: The Untold History of a Slave Rebellion in the Age of Liberty by Greg Grandin (Oneworld: Great Britain, Australia & New York 2014)

Review by Jo Manby

This gripping book reads like an adventure story subtly underpinned by historical detail. It centres on a mutiny on board the slave ship Tryal whereby all its crew were killed, bar one.

On board, slave-rebels initiated a 24-hour deception, fooling the unsuspecting Captain Amasa Delano into coming aboard the apparently troubled, becalmed ship with water and supplies, finally leading to the descent of Delano’s own crew into barbaric slaughter of the slave-rebels.

Empire of necessity book cover