The Slave Ship Marcus Rediker Summary

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To be sold into slavery or to be eaten by a shark: The Slave Ship begins with the story of a woman who must make this fateful decision. The author tricks the reader twice, first by making us think that this woman fated to death by a shark or the slave trade will be the focus of the novel, and then again by making us think that nothing could be worse than that. We learn as the book progresses that slaves faced insurmountable obstacles, pain, fear, and humiliation, and that for many the choice to eaten by a shark was one they could only dream of. In his novel he weaves a narrative of many, one with diverse perspectives and experiences that as a finished product reveal the slave ship in its truth. Rediker shows us that the trauma millions faced on the voyage from Africa to the Americas was in service of something of indescribable magnitude. The slave ship built the Western world. In his novel The Slave Ship, Marcus Rediker asserts that the slave ship not only imported African slaves but also carried with it class systems, race, and capitalism; these monumental institutions were birthed on the ship and made possible by unimaginable violence. Class systems on the slave ship were the byproduct of differences in power and condition. Unlike in our current class system, those in the middle saw little to no benefits of being superior…show more content…
In an effort to discourage allyship, captains encouraged sailors to use force to control slaves which later bred the invention of race. All the while captains reaped the enormous benefits of the capitalist system that was the slave trade. While it’s history may be still be a bit of a mystery, Marcus Rediker shows us the massive social and economic aftermath of the slave

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