White Debt: The Demerara Uprising and Britain’s Legacy of Slavery (Paperback)
  • White Debt: The Demerara Uprising and Britain’s Legacy of Slavery (Paperback)
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White Debt: The Demerara Uprising and Britain’s Legacy of Slavery (Paperback)

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£10.99
Paperback 320 Pages
Published: 05/01/2023
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Waterstones Says

The author of Hanns and Rudolf and The House by the Lake delivers a blazingly eloquent and unflinching examination of Britain's pernicious role in the slave trade through the prism of the Demerara Uprising and its aftermath.

When Thomas Harding discovered that his family had profited from slavery, he set out to interrogate the choices of his ancestors and Britain's role in this terrible history. His investigation took him to Demerara (now Guyana), the site of an uprising by enslaved people in 1823, the largest in the British Empire and a key trigger in the abolition of slavery.

Charting the dramatic build-up to this landmark event through the eyes of four people - an enslaved man, a missionary, a colonist, and a slaveholder - Harding lays bare the true impact of years of unimaginable cruelty and incredible courage and asks how those who benefitted from slavery can take responsibility for the White Debt.

Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
ISBN: 9781474621069
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 300 g
Dimensions: 194 x 126 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Brilliant . . . Striking . . . Full of details that will send a chill down your spine. Harding delivers a masterclass in how authors of history can play an active role, for good and for bad, in how these moral questions are framed - Nesrine Malik, GUARDIAN

A deep dive into colonialism and enslavement, with personal legacies that continue to resonate today - a deeply affecting and forensically elegant book for our times - PHILIPPE SANDS

This well-researched history of the 1823 slave uprising in Demerara is a page-turner . . . Harding lays out what happened with novelistic (but still assiduously researched) flair - TELEGRAPH

Authentic, bold and poignant, WHITE DEBT is a captivating tale of resistance and an urgent antidote to our collective amnesia - DAVID LAMMY MP

The Demerara episode graphically reveals the hidden cruelties of colonialism, not to mention British myopia towards the atrocities. Harding tells the story with impressive drama and detail - THE TIMES

WHITE DEBT is an important step in our routinely dysfunctional national conversation about the Atlantic slave trade - SATHNAM SANGHERA

[A] vital read - THE i NEWSPAPER, best non-fiction books of 2022

Excellent . . . Harding is a thoughtful and honest writer . . . an exemplary piece of history writing - LITERARY REVIEW

An important and timely book told with great sympathy, honesty and an original approach. His family is always present, in the background, but he does not shy away from criticism and asking big questions which many in this country must try and answer - ANNE SEBBA

Some write about the past. Thomas Harding, our most human historian, has, once again, brought it alive . . . in all its tragedy, glory, complexity - JOHN LEWIS-STEMPEL

Puts Harding alongside other recent revisers of Britain's imperial history . . . provides a valuable introduction to the various strands of this debate - Ashish Ghadiali, OBSERVER

Honest, compelling and certainly timely, WHITE DEBT lays bare the nature of a crime against an entire race of people, for which there was no punishment. As Thomas Harding has done, all readers should consider; what is my part in the wider story of the British slave trade and how do I make amends where necessary? - ELSIE HARRY, African-Guyanese Activist & Poet

Gripping . . . Novelistic in its narrative energy, its jeopardy and its tensions, WHITE DEBT is a rich story so well told - ALLAN LITTLE

I was much moved by WHITE DEBT. I am so glad Thomas Harding wrote it. He tells the story of Britain's appalling role in slavery with great sensitivity and leads the reader to the only possible conclusion, that there is a debt and it must be paid - RABBI JULIA NEUBERGER

WHITE DEBT is a timely, pioneering, game changer. Its compelling narrative and thought-provoking reflections enable us to (re)visit plantation slavery with fresh eyes. It invites the reader to reflect on a core period of British history that has for too long been ignored or dismissed as bearing no relationship to present-day inequities that exist between White and Black people. This book is compulsory reading for anyone interested in understanding the case for reparations and will delight readers who are tired of portrayals of enslaved Africans as marginal to the history of abolitionism. WHITE DEBT is a courageous tour de force - JUANITA COX, co-founder of Guyana Speaks

A major study of the 1823 slave uprising in British Guyana, revealing the utter brutality of the slaveowners and the courage as well as the organisational genius of the African leaders of the uprising. That Harding inserts himself in the narrative, seeking to make amends for his forebears' involvement in slave-produced commodities, makes his book all the more compelling, since it creates a dialogue between the living and the dead - PROFESSOR DAVID DABYDEEN

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Lesley at Commercial Street Dundee

“White Debt”

This is a brilliant, fascinating book. It's the story of the Demerara Uprising primarily, examining the key figures involved and the aftermath. This is interspersed with passages describing the reactions the... More

“Well researched and contemplative exploration of Britain's involvement in the slave trade”

I've not read any of Harding's previous books as World War-related non-fiction just never interests me; this was a subject I gravitate more towards so gave him a go. This book looked at a specific uprising... More

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