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Further Reading:

A Bibliography of Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation


On this page I have selected a few titles for further reading on slavery, abolition, and emancipation. Historians and literary scholars have produced huge quantities of material on this subject, and I do not intend to survey the entire literature on the subject. Instead, this bibliography suggests a few particularly good or important titles, arranged in small groups, which should be enough to get you started in your research. Any serious scholar of slavery and abolition will notice many omissions. Likewise, students will not always find all of these titles in their library. However, most of these works are generally available, and should provide a good introduction to the subject.

Many of the books mentioned below are in print and on sale. Where available, I have provided a link to the Amazon.co.uk page advertising that book. This will open in a new window.

General Studies of Slavery

  • Blackburn, Robin, The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800 (London: Verso, 1997) | View this title on Amazon

  • Davis, David Brion, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006) | View this title on Amazon

  • Davis, David Brion, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1966) | View this title on Amazon

  • Eltis, David, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999) | View this title on Amazon

  • Kolchin, Peter, American Slavery: 1619-1877 (London and New York: Penguin, 1995) | View this title on Amazon

  • Walvin, James, Black Ivory: A History of British Slavery (London: HarperCollins, 1992) | View this title on Amazon

  • Walvin, James, A Short History of Slavery (London: Penguin, 2007) | View this title on Amazon

General Studies of the Slave Trade

  • Curtin, Phillip D, The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969)

  • Klein, Herbert S., The Atlantic Slave Trade (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010) | View this title on Amazon

  • Rediker, Marcus, The Slave Ship: A Human History (London: John Murray, 2008) | View this title on Amazon

  • Thomas, Hugh, The Slave Trade: The History of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440-1870 (London: Picador, 1997) | View this title on Amazon
General Studies of Abolition

  • Blackburn, Robin, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery 1776-1848 (London: Verso, 1988) | View this title on Amazon

  • Brown, Christopher Leslie, Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006) | View this title on Amazon

  • Carey, Brycchan, From Peace to Freedom: Quaker Rhetoric and the Birth of American Antislavery, 1657-1761 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012) | View this title on Amazon

  • Drescher, Seymour, Abolition: A History of Slavery and Antislavery (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) | View this title on Amazon

  • Hochschild, Adam, Bury the Chains: The First International Human Rights Movement (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2005) | View this title on Amazon

  • Temperley, Howard, British Antislavery: 1833-1870 (London: Macmillan, 1972)

  • Turley, David, The Culture of English Antislavery, 1780-1860 (London: Routledge, 1991) | View this title on Amazon

The Economics of Slavery

  • Bender, Thomas, ed., The Antislavery Debate: Capitalism and Abolitionism as a Problem in Historical Interpretation (Oxford: University of California Press, 1992) | View this title on Amazon

  • Drescher, Seymour, Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977) | View this title on Amazon

  • Williams, Eric, Capitalism and Slavery (London: André Deutsch, 1964) | View this title on Amazon

Women and Antislavery

  • Ferguson, Moira, Subject to Others: British Women Writers and Colonial Slavery, 1670-1834 (London: Routledge, 1992)

  • Midgley, Clare, Women against Slavery: the British Campaigns, 1780-1870 (London: Routledge, 1992) | View this title on Amazon

Slave Resistance

  • James, C.L.R., The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938) 3rd edn (London: Allison and Busby, 1980) | View this title on Amazon

Slavery in Literature and Culture

  • Ahern, Stephen, ed., Affect and Abolition in the Anglo-Atlantic: 1770–1830 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013) | View this title on Amazon

  • Boulukos, George, The Grateful Slave: The Emergence of Race in Eighteenth-Century British and American Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) | View this title on Amazon

  • Carey, Brycchan, British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment,and Slavery, 1760-1807 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) | View this title on Amazon

  • Carey, Brycchan, Markman Ellis, and Sara Salih, eds, Discourses of Slavery and Abolition: Britain and its Colonies, 1760-1838 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) | View this title on Amazon

  • Carey, Brycchan, and Peter Kitson, eds, Slavery and the Cultures of Abolition: Essays Marking the Bicentennial of the British Abolition Act of 1807 (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2007) | View this title on Amazon

  • Dabydeen, David, ed., The Black Presence in English Literature (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985)

  • Ellis, Markman, The Politics of Sensibility: Race, Gender and Commerce in the Sentimental Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996) | View this title on Amazon

  • Ferguson, Moira, Subject to Others: British Women Writers and Colonial Slavery, 1670-1834 (London: Routledge, 1992)

  • Festa, Lynn, Sentimental Figures of Empire in Eighteenth-Century Britain and France (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006) | View this title on Amazon

  • Gikandi, Simon, Slavery and the Culture of Taste (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011) | View this title on Amazon

  • Innes, C.L., A History of Black and Asian Writing in Britain, 1700-2000, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) | View this title on Amazon

  • Sypher, Wylie, Guinea's Captive Kings: British Anti-Slavery Literature of the Eighteenth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1942)

Black Self-Representations

  • Carretta, Vincent, and Philip Gould, eds, Genius in Bondage: Literature of the Early Black Atlantic (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001) | View this title on Amazon

  • Costanzo, Angelo, Surprizing Narrative: Olaudah Equiano and the Beginnings of Black Autobiography (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987) | View this title on Amazon

  • Davis, Charles T., and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Slave's Narrative (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985) | View this title on Amazon

  • Edwards, Paul and David Dabydeen, eds, Black Writers in Britain 1760-1890 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991) | View this title on Amazon

  • Sandiford, Keith A., Measuring the Moment: Strategies of Protest in Eighteenth-Century Afro-English Writing (London: Associated University Presses, 1988)

The Black Atlantic

  • Gilroy, Paul, The Black Atlantic: modernity and double consciousness (London: Verso, 1993) | View this title on Amazon

  • Linebaugh, Peter, and Marcus Rediker, The many-headed hydra. sailors, slaves, commoners, and the hidden history of the revolutionary Atlantic (London: Verso, 2000) | View this title on Amazon

  • Schama, Simon, Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution (London: BBC Books, 2005) | View this title on Amazon

Biographies of Abolitionists

  • Aitken, Jonathan, John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace (London: Continuum, 2007) | View this title on Amazon

  • Carretta, Vincent, Equiano, the African: Biography of a Self-made Man (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2005) | View this title on Amazon

  • Hague, William, William Wilberforce: The Life of the Great Anti-slave Trade Campaigner (London: HarperPress, 2007) | View this title on Amazon

  • Jackson, Maurice, Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) | View this title on Amazon

  • Plank, Geoffrey, John Woolman's Path to the Peaceable Kingdom: A Quaker in the British Empire (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) | View this title on Amazon

  • Shyllon, Folarin, James Ramsay: The Unknown Abolitionist (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1977)

  • Wilson, Ellen Gibson, Thomas Clarkson: A Biography, 2nd edn (York: William Sessions, 1996)

Africans in Britain

  • Chater, Kathleen, Untold Histories: Black people in England and Wales during the period of the British Slave trade, c. 1660-1807 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009) | View this title on Amazon

  • Fryer, Peter, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (1984), new edition with an introduction by Paul Gilroy (London: Pluto Press, 2010) | View this title on Amazon

  • Gerzina, Gretchen, Black England: Life Before Emancipation, (London: Allison & Busby, 1999)

  • Shyllon, Folarin, Black People in Britain 1555-1833 (London: Oxford University Press, for the Institute of Race Relations, 1977)

Anthologies of Writing About Slavery

  • Basker, James G., Amazing Grace: An Anthology of Poems About Slavery, 1660-1810 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002) | View this title on Amazon

  • Caretta, Vincent, ed., Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the Eighteenth Century (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996) | View this title on Amazon

  • Heuman, Gad, and James Walvin, eds, The Slavery Reader (London: Routledge, 2003) | View this title on Amazon

  • Kitson, Peter, et al, eds, Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: Writings in the British Romantic Period, 8 vols (London: Chatto and Windus, 1999). A collection of facsimile material.

  • Pinfold, John, ed., The Slave Trade Debate: Contemporary Writings for and Against (Oxford: The Bodleian Library, 2007) | View this title on Amazon

 


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* This page last updated 28 November 2015 *