Ambitious History of Atlantic Slave Trade Bogs Down in Detail

By Leonard Bushkoff, Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, January 29, 1998 | Go to article overview

Ambitious History of Atlantic Slave Trade Bogs Down in Detail


Leonard Bushkoff, Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


THE SLAVE TRADE: THE STORY OF THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE: 1440-1870

By Hugh Thomas

Simon & Schuster 908 pp., $38 Hugh Thomas is, quite simply, a phenomenon. This remarkably productive, popularizing historian has written a dozen or more books over a 35-year span. They range from his most famous work, on the Spanish Civil War, through studies of the cold war, modern Cuba, global technology, the conquest of Mexico, and now this overwhelming tome, "The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870." But there are difficulties with this latest work: a lack of discipline and much structure beyond chronology. Of course, Thomas is fluent in the French and especially the Spanish sources. Unfortunately, there is little penetration, little attempt to develop themes, present ideas, or get to the bottom of things. The result is a bloated, slap-dash assemblage of facts and factlets that includes every conceivable name, but imposes a casual, occasionally cynical, irony on the vital questions of motivation and causality. There are endless recitals of expeditions undertaken, African slaves carried off, sold in the New World, and marched to their new "homes"; of this profitable business fought over by Portuguese, then Spanish, then Dutch, then French, then British, and finally American slavers; of the pirates, privateers, and men of war that hovered around the edges; and of the changes in wealth and politics that influenced the trade. The book contains not one, but two back-to-back texts, the first dealing with "high" slavery, its period of acceptance and expansion, principally by Spain and Portugal from the 15th century onward; the second with its rejection by the two expanding Western democracies, Britain and the United States, and the consequent efforts at worldwide elimination during 1780 to 1860.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ambitious History of Atlantic Slave Trade Bogs Down in Detail
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.