From the acclaimed author of Fordlandia, comes the story of a remarkable slave rebellion that illuminates America’s struggle with slavery and freedom during the Age of Revolution and beyond. Greg Grandin visited the DRHS Drew Archives in doing research for his book, The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom and Deception in the New World, utilizing the Captain Amasa and Samuel Delano Collection. Join us to hear about this project, which is so intricately connected to Duxbury’s history. Read the New York Times Review of The Empire of Necessity.
One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter originally from Duxbury, climbed aboard a distressed Spanish ship carrying scores of West Africans he thought were slaves. The West Africans, having earlier seized control of the vessel and slaughtered most of the crew, were staging an elaborate ruse and acting as if they were humble servants. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception, he responded with explosive violence.so closely connected to Duxbury history.
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.
Greg Grandin is the author of Fordlandia, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, as well as Empire’s Workshop and The Blood of Guatemala. A professor of history at New York University and a recipient of fellowships from Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center, Grandin has served on the UN Truth Commission investigating the Guatemalan Civil War and has written for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, New Statesman, and the New York Times. Admission: $5.
Books are available at Westwinds Bookshop, Duxbury. Westwinds is generously offering a 20% discount on the hardcover version.
Anyone interested in Greg Grandin’s book should also put Feb. 8th on their calendar: the DRHS is conducting a book-and-collections club “Beyond Words” featuring Benito Cereno by Herman Melville. Check out the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society’s Events Calendar for more details.
Greg Grandin, the author of Empire of Necessity, will be coming to speak at the Drew Archives. Grandin utilized the Captain Amasa and Samuel Delano Collection when researching the life of Amasa Delano for his new book.