Yale University Press has been getting a lot of attention lately. (The publisher’s Anthology of Rap made this week’s New York magazine list of the year’s best books.) But Yale’s also behind one of the most ambitious books of this—or any other—publishing season: a fascinating, horrifying, beautifully put-together atlas of the transatlantic slave trade.
The authors—Davids Eltis and Richardson—drew on their experience with the amazingly detailed Electronic Slave Trade Database Project and commissioned 189 maps, every one of which shades—or totally alters—our understanding of an industry that lasted for well over three centuries and brought 12.5 million Africans to the New World. A third David—David Brion Davis, who is our leading scholar of slavery and abolition—contributes the foreword, and a fourth David, the Civil War historian David Blight, has written the afterword. But the maps in the middle tell their own brilliant and terrifying stories. We couldn’t put them down, or stop thinking about their implications.
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