Atlantic Slavery from a Cultural Viewpoint Book Review by Nicky

A review of "Reaper's Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery", by Vincent Brown.
# 150876 | 1,497 words | 1 source | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Apr 29, 2012 in Literature (American) , African-American Studies (Slavery)

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The paper discusses Vincent Brown's thesis on the intrinsic relationship between death and power during 18th century Atlantic slavery on the grounds of the philosophical paradigms of the cultures involved. The paper outlines how Brown addresses the various dichotomies of death and power, black and white, and slavery and freedom, and asserts that he provides an eye-opening perspective for those who either idealize or demonize slavery in both an entertaining and though-provoking way. The paper concludes that this work provides a valuable springboard for future investigation.

From the Paper:

"Brown's Prologue is a thorough introduction to the cultures involved in the slavery paradigm of Jamaica during the 18th century. That slave culture in Jamaica regarded death as an everyday reality, but not as the end of life. Instead, it was merely part of the life cycle. Ironically, the arrival of the Europeans emphasized this paradigm. Brown notes that they had no immunity to the illnesses and ailments of the tropical climate, which was completely foreign to the European constitution. Hence European colonists who arrived in Jamaica died in great numbers. This reinforced for the Jamaican culture the fact that life is both finite and eternal. The individual slave owner would die, simply to be replaced by another. The mortality rate for Europeans was extremely high, which made their power relationship to their slaves problematic.
"Here Brown notes that the sheer numbers of slaves in Jamaica as opposed to the number of European colonists were a cause for concern. He shows that, like death, power was a movable concept, relevant to both Europeans and their African counterparts. The slaves were powerful because of their numbers, while the Europeans relied on their ranks and wealth to wield power over their slaves. Hence the sense of unease in the relationship between the British and the Jamaicans."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brown, Vincent. The Reaper's Garden: death and power in the world of Atlantic slavery. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Atlantic Slavery from a Cultural Viewpoint (2012, April 29) Retrieved December 06, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Atlantic Slavery from a Cultural Viewpoint" 29 April 2012. Web. 06 December. 2022. <>