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Book thoughts: A Slave's Cause

2023-09-20

I did my best with this book, but I couldn't make it through.

A Slave's Cause by Manisha Sinha is a history of the abolition movement.

I picked it because I was interested in understanding how slavery came to be abolished.. I am still interested in this topic, but one of my goals for the year is to be more willing to put away books that aren't holding my interest, so that's what I'm doing for now. This says more about me as a reader than it does about the author and the book. I'm sure I was not her target reader!

The book is fantastically researched. It seems like the author found every single person in the historical record that opposed slavery and told their story. There are so many people who gave so much to the cause.

My biggest takeaways from the portion of the book I read are:

  • The sheer number of people across races that saw slavery as evil basically from the beginning. While viewing slavery as immoral was a minority position, it wasn't entirely uncommon.. People knew it was a bad idea.
  • The tremendous dilemma slavery posed to people who did believe it was wrong and wanted to do something about it. A modern day challenge with some similarity might be trying to avoid anything with greenhouse gas emissions (obviously not a parallel on a moral level). I'm grateful to be born into an era where I don't have to confront this.
  • The years of work, arguments, and missteps that went into abolition coming to be.

Perhaps I'll revisit this one in the future and if there is book written for more of a general audience that you know of, let me know as I'd happily start there.