Bury The Chains

Amazing Grace is lovely Christian hymn that we all know and can probably recite the first two lines no problem.  Interesting that the man who penned the hymn was a wealthy British slave trader who found God, wrote the hymn and then joined the anti-slavery cause.

Bury The Chains by Adam Hochschild is a wonderful book about the small number of brave people in Britain who fought to abolish slavery at a time when Britain was wealthy and powerful in the world because of it.  The anti-slavery movement changed Britain and human rights and this book tells the compelling history of the people involved, the movement itself and how Britain’s role in the slave trade slowly changed.

Reading this book not only informs you of this great cause and the people who gave their entire lives to it but along the way we learn about how a prized commodity can drive people and nations crazy: oil today, sugar back in the time of the slave trade.  We learn about The Caribbean and the legacy of the slave trade on those Islands, about the Quakers, the role of brave British business people who risked the wrath of wealthy slave owners, how slavery was debated in Parliament and how ordinary Brits moved on an unprecedented scale to boycott sugar and hit the slave owners in their pockets – some even in the knowledge it would impact negatively upon their own livelihood.

While it is not a light Summer read if you’re interested in world history, politics, activism and humanity it is a winner.


3 Comments to “Bury The Chains”

  1. So Bubbly is this book quite heavy historical reading or is it accessible to anyone? I am very interested in reading something about this but am put off by books full of facts and figures. Thanks!

  2. Dr Patel, it’s written in a narrative that is easy to follow without overwhelming the reader with dates. I agree with you that too much data can be off putting.

  3. Thanks Bubbly! Ever since the Hollywood film about Lord Wilberforce I’ve been meaning to read up more about this movement but all the books I’ve perused so far seem to be written very academically and not for the interested casual reader.

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