Daily Archives: April 20, 2022

Between Land and Sea: The Atlantic Coast and the Transformation of New England: Christopher L. Pastore

One of the largest estuaries on the North Atlantic coast, Narragansett Bay served as a gateway for colonial expansion in the seventeenth century and the birthplace of American industrialization in the late eighteenth. Christopher Pastore presents an environmental history of this watery corner of the Atlantic world, beginning with the first European settlement in 1636 and ending with the dissolution of the Blackstone Canal Company in 1849. Between Land and Sea traces

how the Bay’s complex ecology shaped the contours of European habitation, trade, and resource use, and how littoral settlers in turn reconfigured the physical and cultural boundaries between humans and nature.

Narragansett Bay emerges in Pastore’s account as much more than a geological formation. Rather, he reimagines the nexus of land and sea as a brackish borderland shaped by the tension between what English settlers saw as improvable land and the perpetual forces of the North Atlantic Ocean. By draining swamps, damming rivers, and digging canals, settlers transformed a marshy coastal margin into a clearly defined edge. The resultant “coastline” proved less resilient, less able to absorb the blows of human initiative and natural variation than the soggy fractal of water and earth it replaced.

Today, as sea levels rise and superstorms batter coasts with increasing ferocity, Between Land and Sea calls on the environmentally-minded to make a space in their notions of progress for impermanence and uncertainty in the natural world.


“With a writer’s flair and a scholar’s insight, Pastore has transformed the muck of the tidal zone into a splendid meditation on the historical transformation of the New England coast. This is a book for beach-combers and sailors, and for everyone drawn to the shore.”―W. Jeffrey Bolster, Bancroft Prize–winning author of The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail

“Coasts are a co-construction of man and nature. Pastore recognizes this in his brilliant reconstruction of how the shores of southern New England acquired their shape and meaning during the colonial period. This is environmental history at its very best, vividly conveyed by someone who knows the sea as well as the land.”―John Gillis, author of The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History

“In this highly descriptive, carefully written volume, Pastore takes a close look at the interaction between nature, humans, and the built environment with a focus on New England’s Narragansett Bay. He traces changes in climate, resources, and European settlers’ attitudes in the context of a fascinating geographic-conceptual zone that traverses the ‘unknowable’ sea to ‘uncertain’ estuaries to an ‘unknown’ inland…It was useful to read an analysis of Enlightenment scientific thought on climate and its relationship to religious attitudes of the time. Most fascinating is the juxtaposition here of the liminal space between land and sea and the liminal conceptual space between science and popular culture.”―S. Hammer, Choice

“Pastore ventures onto the marshes and the mudflats between them, exploring New England’s largest estuary in a fascinating, detailed, and often lyrical study of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay…He writes clearly and perceptively about the ways in which inhabitants shaped, and were more shaped by, these tidal waters.”―Peter H. Wood, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“Written with panache and startling flashes of insight, [Between Land and Sea] succeeds in illustrating the hidden perils of ordering a coastal landscape. It is also successful in drawing together the methodologies of historical geography and environmental history, and in piloting both disciplines into uncharted waters…Pastore’s

book treats terra firma and terra aqua as a single ecosystem, which adds immeasurably to the understanding of both…As a thought-piece as well as a study in history and geography, this book has great merit.””―Richard W. Judd, Journal of Historical Geography

“Pastore’s work [is] thoughtful, elegantly written, and clearly presented…In his hands, Narragansett Bay becomes not just an extension of the sea but also a set of ideas, attitudes, uncertainties, and ambiguities that accommodate a range of human understandings…One of the book’s greatest strengths [is] its ability to sit comfortably, engagingly, and provocatively between the imaginary and the material…Anyone interested in coasts and margins will enjoy his examination of this small but provocative place.”―Matthew McKenzie, Journal of American History

“An exceptional history that weaves broad and compelling theories with [Pastore’s] impressive, place-specific research. [Between Land and Sea] is easy to read and should be useful to professional historians interested in a wide variety of fields including environmental, colonial, maritime, and Atlantic world history, as well as to graduate and undergraduate students looking to expand their understanding of either the region or new methodological approaches to geographic-based historical investigation.”―Brian Payne, American Historical Review

“Written with grace and with admirable attention to both cultural and physical transformations, Between Land and Sea is an eminently readable (and teachable) book. It deserves a prominent place on any shelf of early American environmental histories.”―Andrew Lipman, Environmental History

“In this imaginative and remarkably well-written study of the coastal history of Narragansett Bay, Christopher Pastore offers a cautionary tale three centuries in the making…At the heart of Pastore’s project is the contention that in seeking to master the coastal Narragansett Bay space between continental North America and the Atlantic Ocean, for ostensibly rational reasons inspired by the Enlightenment and spurred by the Industrial Revolution, Rhode Islanders foisted a potential ecological and environmental catastrophe on themselves that persists to this day…Pastore adeptly integrates archaeological, biological, economic, environmental and religio-political evidence to craft a genuinely interdisciplinary argument.”―Craig Gallagher, Itinerario

“Between Land and Sea offers a glimpse at man’s ability and desire to exploit and change natural space. It offers a rich environmental history, clearly and concisely peering into Rhode Island’s past through the lens of its most defining physical feature. It is an essential contribution to the environmental and maritime histories of Rhode Island and Southern New England.”―Morgan Breene, Sea History

“[An] excellent book, a creative study that sparkles with insights…With this book, Pastore will cause historians of early America to realize that they ought never to take for granted the places where their stories unfold.”―Ted Steinberg, Reviews in American History

“Pastore’s Between Land and Sea is a fascinating read and thought provoking on various levels. It addresses the intersection of environmental history with the maritime history of an important American historical location. It is scholarly in nature, yet quite readable, and at times, entertaining. This work deserves a place on the shelf of anyone interested in ecological history, particularly that of the Narragansett Bay region, and its influence on the maritime and political history of Rhode Island.”―Louis Arthur Norton, Northern Mariner

“Human, animal (and oyster), and land interactions? The non-material construction of landscape? Encounters between Europeans and a new world? Humanly-induced environmental change? In this wide-ranging and finely-written book, infused with an autobiographical affection for the land and seascapes that he describes, Pastore touches all these topics and more.”―Graham Fairclough, Landscapes

About the Author

Christopher L. Pastore is Assistant Professor of History at the University at Albany, State University of New York.


‏ : ‎ Harvard University Press; Illustrated edition (October 13, 2014)

  • Language‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover‏ : ‎ 312 pages
  • ISBN-10‏ : ‎ 0674281411
  • ISBN-13‏ : ‎ 978-0674281417
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.33 pounds
  • Dimensions‏ : ‎ 6.46 x 1.02 x 9.59 inches

How the West Was Drawn: Mapping, Indians, and the Construction of the Trans-Mississippi West (Borderlands and Transcultural Studies): David Bernstein

Part of: Borderlands and Transcultural Studies (20 books)

How the West Was Drawn explores the geographic and historical experiences of the Pawnees, the Iowas, and the Lakotas during the European and American contest for imperial control of the Great Plains during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. David Bernstein argues that the American West was a collaborative construction between Native peoples and Euro-American empires that developed cartographic processes and culturally specific maps, which in turn reflected encounter and conflict between settler states and indigenous peoples.

Bernstein explores the cartographic creation of the Trans-Mississippi West through an interdisciplinary methodology in geography and history. He shows how the Pawnees and the Iowas—wedged between powerful Osages, Sioux, the horse- and captive-rich Comanche Empire, French fur traders, Spanish merchants, and American Indian agents and explorers—devised strategies of survivance and diplomacy to retain autonomy during this era. The Pawnees and the Iowas developed a strategy of cartographic resistance to predations by both Euro-American imperial powers and strong indigenous empires, navigating the volatile and rapidly changing world of the Great Plains by brokering their spatial and territorial knowledge either to stronger indigenous nations or to much weaker and conquerable American and European powers.

How the West Was Drawn is a revisionist and interdisciplinary understanding of the global imperial contest for North America’s Great Plains that illuminates in fine detail the strategies of survival of the Pawnees, the Iowas, and the Lakotas amid accommodation to predatory Euro-American and Native empires.


“The book’s well-sourced revisionist examination of history through the eyes of both Euro- and Native Americans, and the influence of indigenous knowledge on cartography, is compelling, and thus it is a worthy addition to any historical examination of the Trans-Mississippi West.”—Brian Croft, Nebraska History

“Bernstein provides an interesting read on the importance of cartography and the cultural construction of the Trans-Mississippi West that is well worth reading for historians, cartographers, and cultural geographers, specialists and nonspecialists alike.”—Ellen R. Hansen, Kansas History

“David Bernstein’s book adds fresh nuance to our understanding of the American West, particularly in regard to the creation of maps and boundaries.”—Matthew K. Guske, Chronicles of Oklahoma

“By examining the motives and process of mapmaking, Bernstein restores historical agency to the Pawnee and other tribes.”—R. Dorman, Choice

“Mapping does not stop. We find today the same kind of negotiated, contested, politically charged mapping process happening around the world as Bernstein finds in the nineteenth-century American West. Thus, another important contribution of Bernstein’s work is its potential to shape how we think about and engage in mapping today.”—John Krygier, South Dakota History

“Bernstein’s interesting and scholarly study discusses how the westward movement made maps necessary administrative mechanisms.”—Lynn Bueling, Roundup Magazine

“David Bernstein’s How the West Was Drawn offers an important reassessment of the cartographic history of the American West, exploring how Plains Indians—specifically, Iowas, Pawnees, and Lakotas participated in the mapping and remapping of the region in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.”—Alessandra Link, Environmental History

“Throughout the volume, Bernstein not only makes a convincing argument, but he also corrects some of the problematic ideas scholars have advanced or embraced over the years. This is a well-researched book. The author draws from manuscript sources at the Kansas Historical Society, the Missouri History Museum, the National Archives, and the Newberry Library, among other repositories, not to mention newspapers, government documents, Native American records, and other published primary sources. . . . In addition, it would be a mistake not to mention and commend the book’s excellent selection of 46 map images. . . . Bernstein does an excellent job integrating these maps into his analysis and the University of Nebraska Press should be commended for their investment in this incredible level of illustration. This is a book that will work well in graduate seminars on Native American history, the history of the antebellum U.S., the history of cartography, and colonialism. Anyone interested in space and place in the North America would do well to read this book.”—Evan Rothera, Reviews in History

“Bernstein provides important tools for thinking about maps in complex ways. He carefully draws attention to the multifaceted processes and power involved in their construction, which, in turn, opens up many avenues for understanding how and why U.S. expansion developed as it did.”—Rebekah M. K. Mergenthal, Annals of Iowa

“Bernstein not only engages the historiography of Native America and cartography, but also joins a growing corpus that reassesses U.S. expansion from the point of view of those on the ground who would subvert and offer contingencies to the path of empire. Bernstein draws these insights from a well executed study centered around the Pawnees of the early nineteenth century who occupied the region that would become the states of Kansas and Nebraska.”—Jimmy L. Bryan Jr., Western Historical Quarterly

About the Author

David Bernstein is a historian and photographer.

  • Publisher‏ : ‎ University of Nebraska Press (March 1, 2021)
  • Language‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback‏ : ‎ 330 pages
  • ISBN-10‏ : ‎ 1496224922
  • ISBN-13‏ : ‎ 978-1496224927
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.06 pounds
  • Dimensions‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.73 x 9 inches

The Power of Big Oil Parts 1 & 2 & 3 : Denial, Doubt, Delay (full documentary) | FRONTLINE

FRONTLINE PBS | Official– Apr 19, 2022

Watch part one of “The Power of Big Oil,” a three-episode FRONTLINE docuseries investigating the fossil fuel industry’s history of casting doubt and delaying action on climate change. This journalism is made possible by viewers like you. Support your local PBS station here: http://www.pbs.org/donate. Go inside the decades-long failure to confront the threat and increasing impacts of climate change in “The Power of Big Oil.” This deeply researched docuseries reveals what scientists, corporations and politicians have known about human-caused climate change for decades, and the missed opportunities to mitigate the problem.

Parts two and three of “The Power of Big Oil” premiere April 26 and May 3 on PBS and online: https://to.pbs.org/3rByEEe

“The Power of Big Oil” is a FRONTLINE Production with Mongoose Pictures in association with BBC and Arte. The series producer is Dan Edge. The producer and director of episode 1, “Denial,” is Jane McMullen. The editorial consultant is Russell Gold. The senior producers are James Jacoby and Eamonn Matthews.

The executive producer for FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath. #ClimateChange #BigOil #Docuseries Love FRONTLINE? Find us on the PBS Video App, where there are more than 300

FRONTLINE documentaries available to watch any time: https://to.pbs.org/FLVideoApp
Subscribe on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1BycsJW
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frontlinepbs

Twitter: https://twitter.com/frontlinepbs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frontline FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support for FRONTLINE is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Park Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation; and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation, and additional support from Koo and Patricia Yuen. Funding for The Power of Big Oil is provided by The WNET Group’s Peril and Promise initiative, reporting on the human stories of climate change, with major funding by Dr. P. Roy and Diana T. Vagelos and additional funding from The Marc Haas Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, and the Cheryl and Philip Milstein family. Additional support for this program is provided by The JPB Foundation, and the GBH Planet Future Fund.

Prologue – 00:00
Exxon’s Early Research – 1:51
What the Fossil Fuel Industry Knew – 11:42
The Politics of Climate Change – 18:37
Koch & the Lobbyists – 29:29
Spreading Climate Change Uncertainty – 39:16
The 1996 IPCC Report & Pushback – 47:48
The Kyoto Protocol in the U.S. – 1:00:19
“Code Red for Humanity” – 1:17:22

The Power of Big Oil Part Two: Doubt (full documentary) | FRONTLINE

Apr 26, 2022

Watch part two of “The Power of Big Oil,” a three-episode FRONTLINE docuseries investigating the fossil fuel industry’s history of casting doubt and delaying action on climate change. This journalism is made possible by viewers like you. Support your local PBS station here: http://www.pbs.org/donate.

Part two, “Doubt,” chronicles how, as scientific evidence of human-caused climate change mounted in the 2000s, the industry continued to question the science, and went to new lengths to shape American politics and stall climate policy.

Part one, “Denial,” is now streaming: https://bit.ly/3xTxYhg

Part three, “Delay,” premieres May 3 on PBS and online: https://to.pbs.org/3rByEEe

“The Power of Big Oil” is a FRONTLINE Production with Mongoose Pictures in association with BBC and Arte. The series producer is Dan Edge. The producer and director of episode 2 is Gesbeen Mohammad. The editorial consultant is Russell Gold. The senior producers are James Jacoby and Eamonn Matthews. The executive producer for FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

Part 3
The Power of Big Oil, Part Three: Delay (full documentary) | FRONTLINE

FRONTLINE PBS | Official – May 3, 2022

Watch the final episode of “The Power of Big Oil,” a three-part FRONTLINE docuseries investigating what scientists, corporations and politicians have known about human-caused climate change for decades — and the missed opportunities to mitigate the problem.

This journalism is made possible by viewers like you. Support your local PBS station here: http://www.pbs.org/donate.

Throughout the first two episodes of “The Power of Big Oil,” FRONTLINE went inside the fossil fuel industry’s efforts in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s to stall action on climate change by cultivating denial and doubt.

The third and final episode of the series brings the story up to the present.

“Delay,” part three of “The Power of Big Oil,” investigates how, even as the warnings about climate change grew, the U.S. reemerged as one of the world’s biggest oil and gas producers, and the fossil fuel industry worked to delay the transition to renewable energy sources — including by promoting natural gas as a cleaner alternative. But as the country was entering a gas boom, a former Exxon Mobil engineer tells FRONTLINE that the industry wasn’t monitoring for methane leaks that could turbo-charge the climate crisis.

As it brings the Big Oil series to a close, “Delay” unpacks the Obama, Trump and Biden administrations’ actions on climate change; explores what may happen next; and examines what’s at stake.

Part one, “Denial,” is now streaming: https://bit.ly/3xTxYhg
Part two, “Doubt,” is also streaming: https://bit.ly/37UjSSm

“The Power of Big Oil” is a FRONTLINE Production with Mongoose Pictures in association with BBC and Arte. The series producer is Dan Edge. The producer and director of episode 3 is Robin Barnwell. The editorial consultant is Russell Gold. The senior producers are James Jacoby and Eamonn Matthews. The executive producer for FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

Part one, “Denial,” is now streaming: https://bit.ly/3xTxYhg

Part two, “Doubt,” is also streaming: https://bit.ly/37UjSSm

“The Power of Big Oil” is a FRONTLINE Production with Mongoose Pictures in association with BBC and Arte. The series producer is Dan Edge. The producer and director of episode 3 is Robin Barnwell. The editorial consultant is Russell Gold. The senior producers are James Jacoby and Eamonn Matthews. The executive producer for FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

See related:

As well as:

Short list of some reference titles to the work of Gus Speth

See as well:

Addressing the Legacies of Colonialism in Africa: New Knowledge and Policy Recommendations | Harvard University Center for African Studies

Addressing the Legacies of Colonialism in Africa: New Knowledge and Policy Recommendations

Wednesday, April 27

10:00a – 4:00p EDT


10:00am Welcome and Introductions
Mr. Alex Taylor, Executive Director, Harvard Center for African Studies

10:10am Keynote: Unbundling African Colonization
Keynote by Professor Elias Papaioannou, Professor of Economics at London Business School
Moderated by Professor Roland Pongou, Visiting Scholar at Harvard Center for African Studies

11:00am Panel One
Moderated by Professor Dozie Okoye, Associate Professor of Economics at Dalhousie University
Dr. Karen Jennings, Postdoctoral Fellow at The Laboratory for the Economics of Africa’s Past (LEAP) at University of Stellenbosch
Professor Naaborko Sackeyfio-Lenoch, Associate Professor of History at Dartmouth College

12:30pm Break

12:50pm Panel Two
Moderated by Professor James Fenske, Professor of Economics at University of Warwick
Professor Sara Lowes, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego
Dr. Marie Christelle Mabeu, Postdoctoral Fellow at King Center on Global Development at Stanford University
Professor Stelios Michalopoulos, Professor of Economics at Brown University

2:20p Panel Three
Moderated by Professor Célestin Monga, Visiting Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Professor Patrick Manning, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of World History, Emeritus at University of Pittsburgh
Professor Marlous van Waijenburg, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School
Professor Léonard Wantchekon, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University
Dr. Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist, Africa at The World Bank

3:55p Closing Remarks
Mr. Alex Taylor, Executive Director, Harvard Center for African Studies
Professor Roland Pongou, Visiting Scholar at Harvard Center for African Studies

Abstracts and speaker bios available for download below.

The legacy and impact of colonialism in Africa on the contemporary political economy has received considerable attention among historians and other social scientists. The empirical identification of this legacy has recently raised a lot of interest among economists and political scientists (see recent literature reviews by Nunn (2020) and Michalopoulos and Papaioannou (2020)). Studies show that colonialism has had longstanding impacts on African traditions and cultural practices and continues to affect present-day social and economic outcomes.

Scholars acknowledge that there remain important gaps in the literature documenting the long-term effects of colonialism in Africa. Our understanding of local contexts (cultural, political, geographic) in which the effect of Africa’s colonial history has persisted is still limited. While recent literature seeks to understand the role of African ancestral traditions and cultural norms in social and economic development, research that aims to document the interplay between these traditions and exogenous historical events is still preliminary. Also, heterogeneous effects due to interactions with local circumstances and indigenous institutions have not been sufficiently documented (Robinson (2019)). Moreover, colonialism as a determinant of present-day social and economic outcomes has generally been analyzed as a bundle. The empirical identification of its long-term effects has largely relied on comparing territories administered by different colonial powers. This coarse approach has left open the important question of whether different aspects of colonialism have had different long-term impacts. These open questions call for more research on the legacy of Africa’s colonial history and its underlying mechanisms.

Notwithstanding its acknowledged limitations, the extant literature has made it clear that policies aimed at addressing Africa’s many plights must account for the long-term impact of Africa’s history in general. However, the immutable nature of history has led some policymakers to question the policy relevance of this fascinating research agenda. Even though colonial history cannot be changed, the question of what kind of policies can be implemented to address its long-term effects is highly relevant.

ORGANIZER: Harvard Center for African Studies

REGISTER HERE:https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Z_fzkq4SSN-hirLkSoI1KQ


Plot Locations in Eko Atlantic City !

Eko Atlantic– Apr 20, 2022

In this video, we explore some of the major locations within Eko Atlantic City! Marina Ocean Front Canal

To learn more about Eko Atlantic, visit https://www.ekoatlantic.com/

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Black Ghost of Empire: The Long Death of Slavery and the Failure of Emancipation

Tufts University historian Manjapra (Colonialism in Global Perspective) delivers a sweeping study of how emancipation processes in Africa, the Americas, and Europe “aggravated slavery’s historical trauma and extended white supremacist rule and antiblackness.” Contending that the officials who implemented abolition sought to preserve the racial caste system and “withdrew justice from the historical victims and appeased the perpetrators,” Manjapra documents how the heirs of British slaveholders—rather than descendants of the enslaved—received “lucrative state-funded reparations” up until 2015; how voter suppression and convict leasing programs helped preserve the racial hierarchy in the U.S.; and how European countries “imposed an order of imperialist rule and underdevelopment” on African nations. In addition to the forces that stunted equitable emancipation, Manjapra details Black resistance movements such as the Haitian Revolution and Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. Though Manjapra ranges widely across the history of the 19th century, he suffuses the narrative with vivid and often enraging details, describing, for instance, how a Union general decided to return a fugitive woman and her child to their enslaver, but “congratulated himself for at least not providing a military escort” back to the plantation. This is an essential contribution to understanding the legacy of slavery. (Apr.)

A World Transformed: Slavery in the Americas and the Origins of Global Power

Historian Walvin (Freedom: The Overthrow of the Slave Empires) asserts in this meticulous and eye-opening study that slavery was not just “fundamental to the way the West emerged,” but also “created tentacles of economic activity” that affected far-flung regions not usually associated with the institution. Expertly sifting through archival records, Walvin documents how people, commodities, and ideas crossed oceans and continents, affecting societies as distant from the American South as India and Japan. He examines the emergence of the slave trade, its transatlantic and domestic variants, the methods by which slaveholders attempted to squeeze as much labor as possible from their captive workforce, and the efforts by enslaved people to assert their humanity and gain partial or total freedom. Walvin is particularly eloquent and insightful in describing how slavery underwrote both Western prosperity and the material symbols thereof, facilitating trade in polished mahogany furniture, Chinese porcelain, and other luxury goods. He also sheds valuable light on the links between slavery and modern-day environmental degradation and racial conflict. This richly detailed yet approachable history makes clear just how far and wide the grip of slavery reached. (May)

Of Blood and Sweat: Black Lives and the Genesis of White Power and Wealth

Novelist and psychotherapist Ford (Think Black) unearths in this fascinating history the inextricable links between America’s “systems of power” and the horrors of slavery. From the arrival of enslaved Africans in 17th-century Virginia to the end of Reconstruction in 1877, Ford reveals how “Black lives created White wealth and power,” and how African Americans have been met with “outright betrayal and brutality” when they asked for their fair share. He details how the slave trade spurred shipbuilding and other technological advancements, and notes that the modern-day stock and insurance markets were developed in Amsterdam, London, and other European capitals with ties to the slave trade. Ford also explains how enslaved laborers were essential to the tobacco and cotton industries in the U.S. and helped build the first railways in the South, and details how land redistributed to freed Blacks during the Civil War was returned to former slaveholders after President Lincoln’s assassination. Throughout, Ford weaves in stories of resistance, noting, for instance, that a Black ship captain “helped foment the largest slave rebellion in South Carolina history”; explains complex financial instruments in lucid terms; and paints vivid scenes of Black life in the U.S. The result is an essential reckoning with the roots of the racial wealth gap in America. Adam Chromy, Movable Type Management. (Apr.)

Freedom: The Overthrowing of the Slave Empires

In this lucid work, historian Walvin focuses on the rapid decline of slavery in the Western world. Toward the end of the 18th century, European nations and their colonies in the Americas were strongly committed to this intensely profitable institution, but less than a century later it had become widely condemned and outlawed in the U.S. and Britain. Walvin’s goal is to depict how and why this situation changed so rapidly; while he is careful to stress the political and legislative initiatives involved, he emphasizes that “slaves were the critical element in securing their own freedom.” He asserts that traumatized Africans, who stepped off slave ships transformed in legal terms from human beings into objects of property, were committed to resisting enslavement in any way they could, making the history of slavery into “a complex story of slave defiance.” Walvin identifies the Haitian slave insurrection of 1791–1804 as having a “tsunami-like” effect on the foundations of colonial slavery and spotlights lesser-known insurrections and many smaller acts of daily resistance practiced by enslaved people in the United States, the Caribbean, and Brazil. This account, which illuminates a topic that remains widely misunderstood, merits a wide readership. [em](Sept.) [/em]

Heathen: Religion and Race in American History

The concept of the heathen “stem[s] from Americans’ conviction that other people need to be transformed” and undergirds “a White American Christian superiority complex,” according to this nuanced and illuminating study from Stanford University religious studies professor Gin Lum (Damned Nation). In a series of detailed case studies, Gin Lum emphasizes the malleability of the term and examines how it enfolds religious and racial differences from a presumed norm of Christian whiteness. By categorizing Native Americans, Africans, and Asians as “heathens,” Gin Lum explains, white Protestants attributed these groups’ alleged technological and social backwardness to their spiritual failings and justified war, slavery, and colonization as means to salvation. In the book’s most intriguing sections, Gin Lum spotlights artists and activists, including Yankton Sioux author Zitkála-Šá (1876–1938) and Martinican poet and politician Aimé Césaire (1913–2008), who refashioned “heathen” from an insult into an assertion of anti-imperial pride. Ranging from King Philip’s War in 17th-century New England to “anti-Asian hate” during the Covid-19 pandemic, Gin Lum sheds light on a troubling yet overlooked aspect of U.S. religious history and issues a powerful call for change. Readers will gain new insight into the roots of “White Protestant American” exceptionalism. (May)