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Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire

Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire

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Key Metrics

  • Tom Zoellner
  • Harvard University Press
  • Hardcover
  • 9780674984301
  • 8.5 X 5.7 X 1.3 inches
  • 1.2 pounds
  • History > Caribbean & West Indies - General
  • English
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Book Description

A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Tom Zoellner tells the story of Sam Sharpe's revolution manqu�, and the subsequent abolition of slavery in Jamaica, in a way that's acutely relevant to the racial unrest of our own time. Island on Fire is impeccably researched and seductively readable.--Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls' Rising

From a New York Times bestselling author, a gripping account of the slave rebellion that led to the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

For five horrific weeks after Christmas in 1831, Jamaica was convulsed by an uprising of its enslaved people. What started as a peaceful labor strike quickly turned into a full-blown revolt, leaving hundreds of plantation houses in smoking ruins. By the time British troops had put down the rebels, more than a thousand Jamaicans lay dead from summary executions and extrajudicial murder.

While the rebels lost their military gamble, their sacrifice accelerated the larger struggle for freedom in the British Atlantic. The daring and suffering of the Jamaicans galvanized public opinion throughout the empire, triggering a decisive turn against slavery. For centuries bondage had fed Britain's appetite for sugar. Within two years of the Christmas rebellion, slavery was formally abolished.

Island on Fire is a dramatic day-by-day account of this transformative uprising. A skillful storyteller, Tom Zoellner goes back to the primary sources to tell the intimate story of the men and women who rose up and tasted liberty for a few brief weeks. He provides the first full portrait of the rebellion's enigmatic leader, Samuel Sharpe, and gives us a poignant glimpse of the struggles and dreams of the many Jamaicans who died for liberty.

Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire

Author Bio

Tom Zoellner is the author of eight nonfiction books, including Island on Fire: The Revolt that Ended Slavery in the British Empire, and works as a professor at Chapman University and Dartmouth College. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, The American Scholar, The Oxford American, Time, Foreign Policy, Men’s Health, Slate, Scientific American, Audubon, Sierra, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Texas Observer, Departures, The American Scholar, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. 

Tom is a fifth-generation Arizonan and a former staff writer for The Arizona Republic and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from The Lannan Foundation, the Corporation of Yaddo, the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.  

 

Source: Chapman University 

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