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The Life of Olaudah Equiano [Paperback]

By Olaudah Equiano (Author)
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Item description for The Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano...

Compelling work traces the formidable journey of an Igbo prince from captivity to freedom and literacy and recounts his enslavement in the New World, service in the Seven Years War with General Wolfe in Canada, voyages to the Arctic with the Phipps expedition of 1772--73, six months among the Miskito Indians in Central America, and a grand tour of the Mediterranean as a personal servant to an English gentlemen. Skillfully written, with a wealth of engrossing detail, this powerful narrative deftly illustrates the nature of the black experience in slavery.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   112
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.5" Width: 6.9" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 21, 2008
ISBN  9562916065  
ISBN13  9789562916066  

Availability  121 units.
Availability accurate as of May 26, 2017 04:53.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Olaudah Equiano

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! About the Introducer: ROBERT REID-PHARR, one of the country's leading scholars of early African-American literature, is a professor of English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He lives in Brooklyn.
About the Editor: SHELLY EVERSLEY is an assistant professor of American literature at Baruch College, specializing in African-American literature and culture. She is the author of Integration and Its Discontents and coeditor of Race and Sexuality.

Olaudah Equiano was born in 1745.

Olaudah Equiano has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)
  2. Penguin Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Ethnic & National > African-American & Black
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Ethnic & National > General
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > African American > General
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > United States > General
7Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Special Groups > African American Studies

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Life of Olaudah Equiano?

Historical Document about Slavery  Mar 4, 2007
In the later parts of 1700s some opposition of slavery was developed due to horrendous accounts given by merchants and slaves, like Equiano. That was the first time in history when opposition of slavery grew. And this is one of them.

This book gives account of the life of a slave. Before he gets kidnapped, he gives some accounts of slavery back in Africa, which is a lot different than the ones in Americas or England.

Many people who have read this book said it's either BORING or VERY INTERESTING. I think this book is interesting, though, but I can't consider it as a favorite book of mine. It has hard to read; lots of big words. There's also a lot of switch-back-and-forths between where events take place and I couldn't really keep it up. Maybe because I was reading too fast or maybe because I wasn't following too well.

This book is like a life of a slave. BUT NOT the kind of slave that you would expect. It has no similarities compared to Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. It's totally a different account. So if you expect to read a horrific story about slavery in Americas, don't choose this one. This book will give you a pretty good idea of how Africans were treated. (A lot of times this story takes place on a ship.)
Packaging  Sep 20, 2005
The item was fine, but why did it have to be packed in such a big box. It did not fit in the mail box so it had to be picked up at the post office. Smaller packaging please, otherwise, everything was fine.
an 18th century spiritual and political autobiography  Dec 16, 2003
As an American who has grown up hearing and learning about slavery and the slave trade in the US, and mainly in the 19th century, I appreciated the insight Equiano's book gives into the institution from other parts of the world, and in particular how racism evolved within an institution that had been taken for granted for centuries and had not been particularly racist.

It is not the narrative of a victim. Not only does Equiano purchase his freedom halfway through the book, but also you can tell from the incidents he describes and from reading between the lines that he was a strong, even pugnacious person who didn't take any guff from people he did not respect. He was pragmatic, ambitious, and a fighter. While he accepted the social hierarchies of the time, including slavery itself until the latter part of his life, he shows no humility (except in terms of his spiritual condition). When he proposes to another person that he work for him as a servant, you get the feeling that he has just given that person an honor.

Equiano's autobiography is important for many other reasons. It is very much a book of its time, the late 18th century, when spiritual autobiographies were important both to the writers and the readers. (Make sure that when you buy an edition of this book you do not buy an edition that has been abridged, as the account of Equiano's religious/spiritual development is what has been cut, making hamburger of what remains). He has wonderful, sometimes acid, comments, to make on the churches he observes at the time. For example, here's his comment on a church service run by the Rev. George Whitfield, at which people are crowding out into the yard and standing on ladders to see into the church: "When I got into the church I saw this pious man exhorting the people with the greatest fervor and earnestness, and sweating as much as ever I did while in slavery....I thought it strange I had never seen divines exert themselves in this manner before; and was no longer at a loss to account for the thin congregations they preached to."

Equiano's autobiography is also a tale of his adventures: he served on board battle and merchant ships much of the time and saw action during the French and Indian war. He was also part of Phipps' search for a passge to India through the north pole, where their ship was frozen in ice just as Shackleford's was two centuries later.

And finally, Equiano's life and story become entwined with the British abolition movement. His book was intended to serve the movement, raising revulsion by demonstrating the cruel and unethical practices that rose from slavery and appealing to logic and the reader's sense of shame. He is one of the earliest writers to point out a psychological blindess in slave holders, the denial and the double vision they had to develop in order to justify themselves. The very existence of the book, written by a literate, very bright, and comfortably wealthy former slave put the lie to the racist arguments that Africans were best suited to slavery. And in one part of the book that is reminiscent of Mary Wollestonecraft, he speaks passionately that the ignorance and helplessness that was so striking in so many slaves had nothing to do with nature, and everything to do with social conditioning.

allows for personal reflection....  Dec 24, 2002
It is hard to rate a book like this...

You must read it if you're even considering it and once you've read it, you should pass it on to someone else. Life dishes us a lot. Life dishes out some people more hardship than others and sometimes we get the opportunity to give ourselves and those we love a chance at a better life. Not only does this book tell a wonderful story of a man who found strength most of us never realize we possess, but in doing so - has proven the power of language, written and spoken. The world can be full of possobilities in even the most impossible situations - to say nothing of the horror we inflict upon each other...but that's another story.

An early English novel, with a twist.  Feb 19, 2002
This book has less to do with slavery and more to do with the quest for middle-class status in England. For comparison, one should also read "ROBINSON CRUSOE" by Daniel Defoe and "PAMELA" by Samuel Richardson.

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