Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Review of "A Pictorial History of the Slave Trade," by Isabelle Aguet

 Review of

A Pictorial History of the Slave Trade, by Isabelle Aguet

Five out of five stars

Images of a great abomination

 Like the Holocaust, there are people that deny that slavery was horrible. There were many eyewitness accounts that were put down in pen and ink and  this book contains a collection of images of locations and events. Some of them are in photos, while others are drawings.

 Since slaves were simply property in the eyes of the law, there were few restrictions as to how they could be treated. Whippings were common, sometimes to the point of death. Subject to the whims of their owners, their treatment varied widely, based on the personality of their masters.

 This book demonstrates slavery in its most negative and brutal form. Horrific punishments such as being buried alive, being torn apart by dogs and being starved to death are three of those depicted. It is a difficult book to read, for it shows quite clearly how inhuman humans can be. At the time, one of the arguments in favor of slavery was that it civilized the displaced Africans. As nearly all of the arguments put forward in favor of slavery they were lofty words that were complete nonsense. Slavery developed and thrived for centuries because of one simple fact; it was financially lucrative. Coating it in pseudo-morality did not change that and the abomination that was slavery cannot be denied.

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