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SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2014
Discover the story of a real-life Captain Ahab of the slave trade, in a landmark book by one of today’s most original and highly acclaimed historians
One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, seal hunter and abolitionist Captain Amasa Delano climbed aboard the Tryal, a distressed Spanish slaver. He spent all day on the ship, sharing food and water, yet failed to see that the slaves, having slaughtered most of the crew, were now their own masters. Later, when Delano realized the deception, he chased the ship down, responding with barbaric violence.
Drawing on never-before-consulted records on four continents, Greg Grandin follows this group of courageous slaves and their persecutor from the horrors of the Middle Passage to their explosive confrontation. The Empire of Necessity is a gripping account of obsessive mania, imperial exploitation, and lost ideals, capturing the epic clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was shaping the so-called New World and the Age of Revolution.