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From the acclaimed author of Fordlandia, the story of a remarkable slave rebellion that illuminates America's struggle
with slavery and freedom during the Age of Revolution and beyond
One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, climbed
aboard a distressed Spanish ship carrying scores of West Africans he thought were slaves. They weren't. Having earlier
seized control of the vessel and slaughtered most of the crew, they were staging an elaborate ruse, acting as if they
were humble servants. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception, he responded
with explosive violence.
Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity explores the multiple forces that culminated in this
extraordinary event―an event that already inspired Herman Melville's masterpiece Benito Cereno. Now historian Greg
Grandin, with the gripping storytelling that was praised in Fordlandia, uses the dramatic happenings of that day to map
a new transnational history of slavery in the Americas, capturing the clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was
the New World in the early 1800s.