Book Review: The Irish Slaves: Slavery, Indenture and Contract Labour Among Irish Immigrants by Rhetta Akamatsu

Published 03:55 p.m., Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Irish Slaves: Slavery, Indenture and Contract Labour Among Irish Immigrants by Rhetta Akamatsu narrates, not only some often overlooked history, but a tale of humanity that both endures and is abhorrent. It is a well-researched, well-written book that opens a page on the slave trade of past ages.


The book recounts the terrible injustice perpetrated on the people of Ireland by England. It details the causes and cultural attitudes that led to this lucrative slave trade, and dissects the treatment of human beings used as a commodity.


The book divides itself by geography, taking each destination used in the Irish slave trade and documents the system and conduct of the people involved. The different laws and slave traditions are described for each region and the author adds historical accounts from the slaves and their masters that give a personal and insightful touch.


Generally, the narration flows smoothly, holding the reader firmly in the past, doling out the information in an engaging manner. The only flaws are some, perhaps unavoidable, repetition and the occasional typo that find their way into the pages, but they do not detract overly from the quality of the book.


The Irish Slaves is an absorbing read, making the history it recounts alive and vibrant in all its misery. The book is a fascinating look into a piece of darker history.


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