Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild
Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves

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From the author of the widely acclaimed King Leopold's Ghost comes the taut, gripping account of one of the most brilliantly organized social justice campaigns in history -- the fight to free the slaves of the British Empire. In early 1787, twelve men -- a printer, a lawyer, a clergyman, and others united by their hatred of slavery -- came together in a London printing shop and began the world's first grass-roots movement, battling for the rights of people on another continent. Masterfully stoking public opinion, the movement's leaders pioneered a variety of techniques that have been adopted by citizens' movements ever since, from consumer boycotts to wall posters and lapel buttons to celebrity endorsements. A deft chronicle of this groundbreaking antislavery crusade and its powerful enemies, Bury the Chains gives a little-celebrated human rights watershed its due at last.


About Adam Hochschild

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ADAM HOCHSCHILD has written for The New Yorker, Harper's, The New York Review of Books, Granta, The New York Times Magazine, and many other newspapers and magazines. In King Leopold's Ghost, Bury the Chains, and other books, Hochschild has earned a reputation as a master of suspense and vivid character portrayal. His skill at evoking such struggles for justice has made him a finalist for the National Book Award and won him a host of other prizes.
Published February 10, 2006 by Mariner Books. 496 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A late-18th-century band of abolitionists in England begins the movement that will eventually free nearly one million slaves across the British Empire—and show the world that idealism and a passion for human rights can fill the sails of the ship of state.

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The Guardian

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Among them was John Newton, who worked on slave ships between West Africa and the Caribbean, where profits on a slave could be as much as 147%.

Feb 12 2005 | Read Full Review of Bury the Chains: Prophets and...

Entertainment Weekly

For his superb account of the British antislavery movement of the late 18th century, Adam Hochschild draws from poetry, songs, pamphlets, diaries, and best-selling autobiographies.

Jan 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Bury the Chains: Prophets and...


As Hochschild explained, the ruling didn’t quite state that, but that’s what everyone thought it stated, and in a case of “perception is reality,” the court case effectively ended slavery in England - if someone brought a slave there, they weren’t slaves any longer.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Jason Thompson Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars "… what makes Hochschild’s book so readable is the rich cast of characters who created the movement, and the appalling nature of slavery itself."

Jan 12 2008 | Read Full Review of Bury the Chains: Prophets and...

Reviews in History

The book states, regarding John Newton, 'for more than thirty years after he left the slave trade, during which time he preached thousands of sermons, published half-a-dozen books and wrote, 'Amazing Grace' and 279 other hymns, Newton said not a word in public against slavery' (Hochschild 2007: 77).

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