Bury the Chains

Bury the chains

From the book jacket:

We cannot imagine citizen activism without boycotts, mass mailings, political posters, lapel buttons, or media campaigns. Yet all these weapons were invented or perfected by a printer, a lawyer, a cleric, several merchants, and a musician who first convened in a London bookshop in 1787. Their goal: to end slavery in the largest empire on earth.

They combined fiery devotion with uncanny skill at stoking public opinion. Within five years, more than 300,000 Britons were boycotting the chief slave-made product, sugar, and London”s smart set was sporting antislavery badges created by Josiah Wedgwood. This crusade was spearheaded by a striking array of personalities, among them Olaudah Equiano, an ex-slave whose memoir made him famous; John Newton, a former slave ship captain who wrote “Amazing Grace”; and Thomas Clarkson, a pioneering investigative journalist who worked for fifty years to see the day when a slave whip and chains were formally buried in a Jamaican churchyard.

Like Hochschild”s classic King Leopold’s Ghost, Bury the Chains abounds in atmosphere, high drama, and nuanced portraits of epic heroes and villains. Again Hochschild gives a little-celebrated historical watershed its due at last.

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