A remarkable intellectual history of the slave revolts that made the modern revolutionary era
The Common Wind is a gripping and colorful account of the intercontinental networks that tied together the free and enslaved masses of the New World. Having delved deep into the gray obscurity of official eighteenth-century records in Spanish, English, and French, Julius S. Scott has written a powerful “history from below.” Scott follows the spread of “rumors of emancipation” and the people behind them, bringing to life the protagonists in the slave revolution.
By tracking the colliding worlds of buccaneers, military deserters, and maroon communards from Venezuela to Virginia, Scott records the transmission of contagious mutinies and insurrections in unparalleled detail, providing readers with an intellectual history of the enslaved.
Though The Common Wind is credited with having “opened up the Black Atlantic with a rigor and a commitment to the power of written words,” the manuscript remained unpublished for thirty-two years. Now, after receiving wide acclaim from leading historians of slavery and the New World, it has been published by Verso for the first time, with a foreword by the academic and author Marcus Rediker.
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About the Author
Julius S. Scott is a professor of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.
Marcus Rediker is Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh and Senior Research Fellow at the Collège d’études mondiales in Paris. He is the author of numerous prize-winning books, including The Many-Headed Hydra (with Peter Linebaugh), The Slave Ship, and The Amistad Rebellion. He produced the award-winning documentary film Ghosts of Amistad, about how the Amistad Mutiny of 1839 lives on today in popular memory among the people of Sierra Leone.
Table of Contents
Foreword Marcus Rediker ix
List of Abbreviations xx
1 "Pandora's Box": The Masterless Caribbean at the End of the Eighteenth Century 1
2 "Negroes in Foreign Bottoms": Sailors, Slaves, and Communication 38
3 "The Suspence Is Dangerous in a Thousand Shapes": News, Rumor, and Politics on the Eve of the Haitian Revolution 76
4 "Ideas of Liberty Have Sunk So Deep": Communication and Revolution, 1789-93 118
5 "Know Your True Interests": Saint-Domingue and the Americas, 1793-1800 159