Rough Crossings

Rough Crossings

Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution

Book - 2006
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Baker & Taylor
In response to a declaration by the last royal governor of Virginia that any rebel-owned slave who escaped and served the King would be emancipated, tens of thousands of slaves--Americans who clung to the sentimental notion of British freedom--escaped from farms, plantations and cities to try to reach the British camp. This mass movement lasted as long as the war did, and a military strategy originally designed to break the plantations of the American South had unleashed one of the great exoduses in American history. Schama details the odyssey of the escaped blacks through the fires of war and the terror of potential recapture at the war's end, into inhospitable Nova Scotia, where thousands who had served the Crown were betrayed and, in a little-known hegira of the slave epic, sent across the broad, stormy ocean to Sierra Leone.--From publisher descriptionþ.

HARPERCOLL

Rough Crossings turns on a single huge question: if you were black in America at the start of the Revolutionary War, whom would you want to win? In response to a declaration by the last governor of Virginia that any rebel-owned slave who escaped and served the King would be emancipated, tens of thousands of slaves -- Americans who clung to the sentimental notion of British freedom -- escaped from farms, plantations and cities to try to reach the British camp. This mass movement lasted as long as the war did, and a military strategy originally designed to break the plantations of the American South had unleashed one of the great exoduses in American history.

With powerfully vivid storytelling, Schama details the odyssey of the escaped blacks through the fires of war and the terror of potential recapture at the war's end, into inhospitable Nova Scotia, where thousands who had served the Crown were betrayed and, in a little-known hegira of the slave epic, sent across the broad, stormy ocean to Sierra Leone.



Book News
At the time of the American Revolution, African Americans accounted for 20 percent of the population of colonists and thus constituted an important third party in the drama of the war whose experiences have generally been neglected in the orthodox historiography of the war. For Schama (art history and history, Columbia U.), this neglect is particularly regretful because within the fires of that conflict one can locate an important episode in the struggle for black freedom. He describes how African-American slaves by the thousands responded to the British offer of emancipation by escaping from their plantations and making the arduous journey northward to Canada. He also describes how authorities on both sides of the war responded to this phenomenon as they struggled to gain advantage in the war. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Examines the role of African-American slaves during the American Revolution, following escaped slaves who sought emancipation through an allegiance to the British cause, as told by the slaves themselves and white abolitionists who protected them.
A noted historian explores a little-known event in American history where thousands of slaves escaped Southern slavery to give their allegiance to King George during the Revolution, only to be betrayed by the Crown.

Publisher: New York : Ecco, 2006
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780060539160
006053916X
Branch Call Number: 326.0973 SCH
Characteristics: xiv, 478 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), map ; 24 cm

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gailygirl
Sep 15, 2007

Superb historical account. Very thoroughly researched - comprehensive comes to mind. Scholarly but not too scholarly. Schama includes enough of the human anecdotal to keep our interest while presenting this historical account of some lesser-known parts of The American Revolution and The French Revolution - oh, and some history of Canada and Nova Scotia as well. The reality is a little daunting - survival as a slave is so (fortunately) removed from our own modern lives.

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