The Empire of Necessity

The Empire of Necessity

Hardback

By (author) Greg Grandin

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  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books (imprint of Henry Holt & Company)
  • Format: Hardback | 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 36mm | 590g
  • Publication date: 17 February 2014
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0805094539
  • ISBN 13: 9780805094534
  • Illustrations note: 38 black-&-white photos in two 8-page inserts, & 2 maps
  • Sales rank: 195,267

Product description

One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, climbed aboard a distressed Spanish ship carrying scores of West Africans he thought were slaves. They weren't. Having earlier seized control of the vessel and slaughtered most of the crew, they were staging an elaborate ruse, acting as if they were humble servants. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception, he responded with explosive violence. Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity explores the multiple forces that culminated in this extraordinary event - an event that already inspired Herman Melville's masterpiece Benito Cereno. Now historian Greg Grandin, with the gripping storytelling that was praised in Fordlandia, uses the dramatic happenings of that day to map a new transnational history of slavery in the Americas, capturing the clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was the New World in the early 1800s.

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Author information

Greg Grandin is the author of "Fordlandia," a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, as well as "Empire's Workshop" and "The Blood of Guatemala." A professor of history at New York University and a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Public Library's Cullman Center, Grandin has served on the UN Truth Commission investigating the Guatemalan Civil War and has written for the "Los Angeles Times," "The Nation," "New Statesman," and "The New York Times."

Review quote

Greg Grandin has done it again. Starting with a single dramatic encounter in the South Pacific he has shown us an entire world: of multiple continents, terrible bondage and the dream of freedom. This is also a story of how one episode changed the lives of a sea captain and a great writer from the other end of the earth. An extraordinary tale, beautifully told.