The Slave Ship: A Human History

1579 Words 7 Pages
Marcus Rediker takes us on a difficult journey of what it was like to travel the middle passage for a slave from 1700-1808 in his riveting book, The Slave Ship: A Human History. He focuses heavily on the calculated barbarity of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and how it gave birth to capitalism with the commodification of humans as goods to be bought and sold on the open market. Rediker gives us a unique and unexplored perspective of the slave trade to give us a sense of the violence that occurred not only on the decks of those ships, but also in their home lands and the new world. Rediker leaves nothing to the imagination as he delves deep into the root causes of the slave trade and the tragedies that took place with his use of haunting language, imagery and gripping facts. Rediker shows that the slave …show more content…
Dubois that explains the slave trade as, “the most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history.”(Pg. 4) One might take this as Rediker advocating for the slave trade, but instead what he is trying to do is to get us to remember that this was a magnificent time in human history because of the people it involved, not because of how it boosted the economy. He goes on to explain that of the 12.4 million slaves who were put onto slave ships, 10.6 million of them ended up on plantations making commodities that would transform the new world by allowing it to prosper in ways previously unattainable (pg. 5). Rediker wants us to understand that historians have presented the slave trade in a way that allowed slave traders “to hide the reality and consequences of their actions from themselves and from posterity” (pg. 12) because they focused too much on the numbers and not the brutal reality of what actually happened. Rediker instead focuses on the dehumanization that occurred to the slaves, the high death rate for slaves and crew, and the excessive use of power that was indiscriminately

Related Documents