The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America (Hardback)
  • The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America (Hardback)
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The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America (Hardback)

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£34.00
Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 04/09/2015
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The history of slavery in early America is a history of suicide. On ships crossing the Atlantic, enslaved men and women refused to eat or leaped into the ocean. They strangled or hanged themselves. They tore open their own throats. In America, they jumped into rivers or out of windows, or even ran into burning buildings. Faced with the reality of enslavement, countless Africans chose death instead. In The Power to Die, Terri L. Snyder excavates the history of slave suicide, returning it to its central place in early American history. How did people-traders, plantation owners, and, most importantly, enslaved men and women themselves-view and understand these deaths, and how did they affect understandings of the institution of slavery then and now? Snyder draws on ships' logs, surgeons' journals, judicial and legislative records, newspaper accounts, abolitionist propaganda and slave narratives, and many other sources to build a grim picture of slavery's toll and detail the ways in which suicide exposed the contradictions of slavery, serving as a powerful indictment that resonated throughout the Anglo-Atlantic world and continues to speak to historians today.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226280561
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 231 x 152 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
""The Power to Die" is the first book-length study of the subject of slave suicide. Drawing upon a robust and diverse body of sources, Snyder powerfully argues that it exposed significant rifts and tensions in early modern American society. Ambitious in scope and original in framing, her analysis is careful, trenchant, and insightful. Snyder's ingenious analysis exposes the ways in which slave suicide reflected the duality of slaves as both people and property."--David Silkenat "author of Moments of Despair: Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War Era North Carolina "
""The Power to Die" is an important, innovative, and exceedingly well-researched book. Snyder has done some breathtaking archival work and the sheer variety of sources is astounding-- drawing on newspapers, antislavery propaganda, ship log books, plantation diaries, account books, and slave narratives, to name a few. This book will be of great interest to many different scholars, including those who work on slavery and early America, but also those eager to know more about law, gender, technology, and early American print culture."--Hilary J. Moss "author of Schooling Citizens: The African American Struggle for Education in Antebellum America "
"The Power to Die" is an important, innovative, and exceedingly well-researched book. Snyder has done some breathtaking archival work and the sheer variety of sources is astounding drawing on newspapers, antislavery propaganda, ship log books, plantation diaries, account books, and slave narratives, to name a few. This book will be of great interest to many different scholars, including those who work on slavery and early America, but also those eager to know more about law, gender, technology, and early American print culture. --Hilary J. Moss "author of Schooling Citizens: The African American Struggle for Education in Antebellum America ""
"The Power to Die" is the first book-length study of the subject of slave suicide. Drawing upon a robust and diverse body of sources, Snyder powerfully argues that it exposed significant rifts and tensions in early modern American society. Ambitious in scope and original in framing, her analysis is careful, trenchant, and insightful. Snyder s ingenious analysis exposes the ways in which slave suicide reflected the duality of slaves as both people and property. --David Silkenat "author of Moments of Despair: Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War Era North Carolina ""

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