Rough Crossings

Rough Crossings

Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution

Book - 2005
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Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution and its aftermath, Rough Crossings is the gripping, astonishing epic of the struggle for freedom by tens of thousands of slaves who believed that their future as free men and women was bound up with staying British, not becoming American. in military strategy, but it unleashed the greatest mass uprising in American history by tens of thousands of slaves - Americans who clung to the sentimental notion of British freedom even when they knew that the English were far from being saints when it came to slavery. blacks themselves, as well as the white abolitionists who became their emancipators and protectors, Schama follows the odyssey of the escaped blacks into the fires of the war, the terror of potential recapture at the war's end, and into inhospitable Nova Scotia where thousands who had served the Crown were betrayed in their promises to receive land. Along the way, Rough Crossings keeps company with a cast of extraordinary characters: Granville Sharp, the flute-playing father-figure of slave freedom; David George, runaway slave and Baptist preacher; Thomas Peters, sergeant in the British Black Pioneers and the first true African-American politician. Most compelling of all, there is Lieutenant John Clarkson, young, passionate, resourceful and high-strung, the Moses of this, one of the great Exoduses in British history. Clarksons journal of the ingathering in Nova Scotia, the ocean crossing and the harrowing experience of the first year in Sierra Leone is one of the most powerful documents of the history of liberty. ultimately prove to be bitterly tragic, it was not without its moments of redemption, promises kept as well as betrayed. If there is heartbreak waiting in its pages there is also rejoicing. No one who reads it will ever feel the same way again about what it means to be British, American - and black.
Publisher: London : BCC Books, 2005.
ISBN: 9780563487098
0563487097
Branch Call Number: 326.097309033 S299
Characteristics: 447 p. : ill. (some col.), ports. (some col.)

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Noted historian Schama examines the lot of the thousands of slaves who, in a bid for freedom, fled their Southern plantations and joined the British cause during the American Revolution. Also available as an abridged audiobook, narrated by the author.


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gailygirl
Sep 15, 2007

Superb historical account. Very thoroughly researched - comprehensive comes to mind. Scholarly but not too scholarly. Schama includes enough of the human anecdotal to keep our interest while presenting this historical account of some lesser-known parts of The American Revolution and The French Revolution - oh, and some history of Canada and Nova Scotia as well. The reality is a little daunting - survival as a slave is so (fortunately) removed from our own modern lives.

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