Five Thousand Years of Slavery

Five Thousand Years of Slavery

by Marjorie Gann, Janet Willen

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When they were too impoverished to raise their families, ancient Sumerians sold their children into bondage. Slave women in Rome faced never-ending household drudgery. The ninth-century Zanj were transported from East Africa to work the salt marshes of Iraq. Cotton pickers worked under terrible duress in the American South.

Ancient history? Tragically, no. In our time, slavery wears many faces. James Kofi Annan's parents in Ghana sold him because they could not feed him. Beatrice Fernando had to work almost around the clock in Lebanon. Julia Gabriel was trafficked from Arizona to the cucumber fields of South Carolina.

Five Thousand Years of Slavery provides the suspense and emotional engagement of a great novel. It is an excellent resource with its comprehensive historical narrative, firsthand accounts, maps, archival photos, paintings and posters, an index, and suggestions for further reading. Much more than a reference work, it is a brilliant exploration of the worst - and the best - in human society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781770491519
Publisher: Tundra
Publication date: 02/21/2012
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
File size: 12 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 10 Years

About the Author

MARJORIE GANN, an educator for thirty years, has written language arts curricula, review articles on children's literature, and sat on the jury for the Canadian Jewish Book Awards. She lives in Toronto with her husband and has two grown children.

JANET WILLEN has been a writer and editor for more than thirty years, working on publications ranging from remedial writing curricula to articles on health and safety. She holds a master's degree in political philosophy from the New School for Social Research. Janet Willen lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband

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Five Thousand Years of Slavery 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
aakauff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While students may be aware of African American slavery in the pre-Civil War United States, they may not understand that slavery is just as much a current problem as it is a historical one. Chapters are determined by geography and take readers from the slavery of Biblical times to the current tragedy of human trafficking. The authors take care to let readers know that slavery exists in far more time periods and far more places than many people would suspect, and lesser known examples of slavery (like the Tupinamba people of Brazil, who practiced slavery and human sacrifice) are highlighted. The book is a well-organized resource with plenty of photographs and figures, and the text is easy to read and understand. For ages 14-18. Recommended.
anna_in_pdx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very attractive book, full of pictures, sidebars, graphs, maps and other visual aids. Because the subject matter is obviously so grim, I was a little bit taken aback at the coffee-table appearance of it. The blurb on Early Reviewers says "for ages 11 and up". I was hoping that I'd learn quite a bit from this book, particularly about slavery still going on today. I think I would have had more reasonable expectations if the book had been listed as "for ages 11 to 14" or something like that. The book definitely holds reader interest in a variety of ways: The previously mentioned visual aids, of which there are several on every page; the simple yet compelling writing style; and the personal stories that are included in every section. I read the whole thing last night after receiving it in the mail. It surprised me not a little that a book on slavery could be so... entertaining.I was frustrated because the book was written for a very young audience. I often wanted more specific information on some kinds of slavery in some historical periods. Little sidebar stories would mention a region in Africa without mentioning where that region is, and the map included on a different page did not refer to it. The index was no help in this regard; it was sparse.I have studied a lot of history, have read a lot, and thus am fairly aware of many different aspects of historical slavery, particularly in the US where I was born and raised. The book gave me very little new information, with the exception of the chapter on the abolition movement in Britain, from which I learned quite a bit, given that I previously knew next to nothing about it except for the connection between the abolition movement and the early feminists.However, what I was really looking forward to was learning more about slavery in our own era. And this is where I was most disappointed. The book's view of slavery in our own era is disconcertingly broad and rather confusing. In fact a glaring weakness came out in this section, which was that the term "slavery" had not been very carefully defined. I had to think about it quite a bit and discuss it with my partner before I could clearly see where I felt the book went wrong.What is slavery? It seems that in the book it is very much defined as the opposite of being "free" by which is meant having choices of where to work or where to go. Therefore, towards the end the authors are listing people held as prisoners of conscience as "slaves." Thus a political prisoner in Cuba, a person held for being a Falun Gong member in China, or Alexandr Solzhenitzyn in the USSR, are considered to be slaves by virtue of the fact that they are imprisoned by a country that has no freedom of expression protections and they have to work while prisoners. This is problematic for me. While I agree that prisoners of conscience should be released and that their plight is important, the fact that they are made to work (like other prisoners everywhere, including in the US or other "first world" countries) does not make their plight the same as slavery.The book also did not address a key type of slavery that probably affects more people than any other type extant today, which is sex trafficking. While the word "rape" comes up a couple of times when discussing problems specific to female slaves of the past or of today, the type of trafficking that is sex-related did not really get covered. I assume this is because the age group is so young. But it is a real deficiency for a grownup reading the book.My other issue with the book is that it oversimplifies things. It directs the reader to feel emotionally upset about the injustice of slavery but does not encourage the reader to think for him- or herself. As the book is evidently meant for kids, it would do better to have some discussion questions that are not "leading" and a little less loaded language. It is easy for modern American youngsters to be against "slavery" but the book does
sdunford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book tries very hard to talk about slavery so that children can understand. I found it somewhat annoying, but after taking sometime to digest it I realize that it isn't the way the book is written, which is for the most part clear, and concise, with great illustrations etc. --- Its the subject matter itself -- talking about the horrors of slavery without getting into subject matter and language that might be considered inappropriate is almost impossible. To get around this barrier, the author resorts way too often to these rather stagey, overly precious questions that begin with "Can you imagine what (add slave's name here)must have been feeling? This is very important and difficult subject, and I have to give the author a great deal of credit for tackling it at all -- but I wish she'd come up with a better way to make the point
LeesyLou on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent choice for a school or educational library, this volume is directed toward the pre-adolescent to middle-school reader. It presents the world-wide history of slavery in its many manifestations in a comprehensive, culturally-sensitive, and non-frightening visual and essay format. It does not go into great detail of modern slave issues, perhaps because it is difficult to do so without being judgmental or scary given most slavery situations, but it does touch on them. Historic depictions as well as modern photographs are used.Many individual stories are given, of slaves, slave owners, and abolitionists.While it's not of any use for in-depth research, this was a perfect volume for our middle-school student's class when they approached the subject of historic and modern slavery.
laVermeer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Five Thousand Years of Slavery is an important book on a challenging topic, but I found it difficult to read except in short sittings. The authors do not flinch from depictions of violence or in any way sanitize the horrors of slavery, and some of the stories in this text are particularly disturbing. Readers who seek to understand the problem of slavery (as readers might have sought to understand the Holocaust in previous decades) will likely find the text compelling: it is passionately written and strikingly presented.The overall balance of the text is fair, although the discussion of contemporary slavery is light compared to the extended chapter on African slaves in North America. I also found the sidebars somewhat distracting. In general, pages end with complete sentences, encouraging a reader who is focussing on the main text to review the sidebars and illustrations before turning the page. Some of the sidebars could have better placed, though ¿ particularly those that run on multiple pages. For a skimming reader or a reader looking for small bites of information, however, the illustrations and sidebars provide valuable, accessible content that might encourage sustained reading of the main text.I would recommend this book for readers in Grade 5 to 8, although the writing is developed enough to hold older readers. The authors have built the text to include several points for connection or extension (to units on economics, geography, history, language arts, or human rights, for instance), so teachers could use this text as either a starting point or a resource. The book is sure to elicit strong responses from compassionate readers and could generate valuable classroom conversations about the global reach and diverse cultural history of slavery and the slave trade. This book belongs in school libraries and would make a valuable addition to many classroom libraries, particularly for social studies teachers.
indianajane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an attractive book for such an ugly subject. It is a fairly thorough treatment for the target 11-14 year-old age group, put together in a way that encourages browsing. The writing is engaging. The only glaring weakness that I saw was the treatment of slavery in the present. The authors embraced what seemed to me to be too broad a definition of slavery, and didn't touch on some of the real slavery that still occurs.
ndejong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book cover to cover in 2 evenings. It was so good I didn't want to put it down. An excellent overview of slavery, yet this book never loses sight of the personal stories of individuals who have suffered under slavery. "Five Thousand Years of Slavery" would be appropriate for younger readers with it's length and complexity, but is interesting for adults as well.
jocraddock on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A gem of a product, this is a lovely book about an ugly subject -- slavery as we know from the Bible to the US Civil War, and as it continues, to this day. It is well laid out in pleasing font, with sufficient photos and sidebars to be interesting without distracting. The story lines are clear and the vocabulary detailed to middle-school age, it seems. In the section on slavery in the Americas, there is good information not always shared in such detail in textbooks.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
This book explores the long and dreary, yet fascinating, history of slavery. It begins in biblical times and continues through to present day. Slavery has existed for five thousand years. It existed in Christianity, Judaism and Islam alike. The impact of the slave industry on Africa is staggering. This book is filled with fascinating details, such as the fact that thousands of years ago, slavers were required to list character flaws that would indicate "passion" in a slave, such as "an extreme interest in religion, the arts, or love". You may think that slavery ended long ago in the US with the Emancipation Proclamation, but that would be quite far from the truth. Sharecroppers were often little more than glorified slaves, and even in the 1920s, our own US government practiced a form of slavery with the Aleut people in Alaska. And today products listed “Made in China” are often created in forced-labor camps, where those suffering religious persecution are being imprisoned. My final word: This was a rather fascinating read about the history of slavery, in all its shameful truth. Fairly and honestly presented, it's a concise and very readable accounting, filled with photography and stories. Disturbing and strangely alluring, I would recommend this book for anyone wishing to have a better grasp of slavery and its impact on the world. 4 1/2 stars