IF WE MUST DIE
ABOUT THE
AUTHOR
ABOUT THE
BOOK
SHIPBOARD INSURRECTIONS IN THE ERA OF THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK












“This important and comprehensive study . . . deepens our understanding
of the conditions of the Middle Passage and the nature of slave resistance.
Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the Atlantic slave
trade.”

  • Robert Harms, author of The Diligent: A Voyage through the Worlds of the Slave Trade


“If We Must Die is a thoroughly researched and thoughtful analysis of the
surprisingly frequent phenomenon of shipboard slave rebellion, identifying
more such revolts than any other scholar has done before. Taylor
provocatively assesses the overwhelming odds against the slaves, much
as the desperate rebels must have sized up their situation themselves, and
then explains the patterns in the outcomes—however seldom successful—
of the carefully organized, violently effective breakouts by these seaborne
prisoners.”

  • Joseph C. Miller, author of Slavery and Slaving in World History


"Taylor's well-researched and competently written monograph challenges
historians to look beyond the few celebrated shipboard insurrections, such
as the
Amistad of 1839 and the Creole of 1841, to the nearly 500 cases cited
in his book....  The book is a superbly orchestrated postmortem of the 493
shipboard insurrections.  The book is reader-friendly, with well-designed
chapters that engage and excite.  Taylor provides details surrounding the
revolts: Success, lack of success, location of revolt (proximity to Africa, in
the Atlantic, the Americas), and opposition to revolt.  Informative tables and
stunning illustrations enhance the text."

  • A.J. Williams-Myers, author of  Destructive Impulses: An Examination of an American
    Secret in Race Relations: White Violence


"Eric Robert Taylor... refers to, and his book works to unravel, a prevailing
thesis whereby shipboard slave rebellions were somehow seen as
insignificant and infrequent parts of the slave trade and negligible in
effecting its abolition.  Taylor’s If We Must Die sets out to confound this
analysis and offers a concise and well-researched response, which
provides an insight into the struggles of enslaved people from all over
West Africa to recover their freedom.... This work succeeds well in
analysing, assessing and evoking the intricacies of revolt.... The 493
revolts that Taylor lists in the appendix at the end of his book... pays
testimony to the fact that Africans, from whatever region or area they
hailed, did not succumb to a life of enslavement with apathetic insouciance,
or submit to the financial imperatives of plantation-driven economics
without struggle. As Taylor points out, ‘Revolt is the assertion of humanity,
and humanity is the antithesis of slavery....'  Taylor’s book, in part, helps to
resituate the stories and voices of the enslaved in the history of
enslavement. It certainly deepens our understanding of the conditions of
the Middle Passage and the nature of slave resistance."

  • John McAleer, Curator of 18th century Imperial and Maritime History, National
    Maritime Museum, Greenwich (Journal for Maritime Research, July 2007)
PRAISE FOR
THE BOOK
BUY THE
BOOK
SHIPBOARD
REVOLTS





Awarded an Honorable Mention in the
category of U.S. Maritime History by the
North American Society of Oceanic History
in their 2006 John Lyman Book Awards
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