0807050067The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and The Hidden History Of The Revolutionary Atlantic by Peter Linebaugh & Marcus Rediker. Boston. 2000. Beacon Press. 433 pages. Jacket design: Sara Eisenman. Jacket art, clockwise from top left: 'Many poor women imprisoned, and hanged for Witches,' 1655, Rare Books Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations; 'A Negro hung alive by the Ribs to a Gallows. 0807050067.


 The culture of the Atlantic in an era of rapid expansion of trade, and the influence of sailors, slaves, pirates, and others in the creation of a new global economy. The notion of pirates as a free-enterprise and somewhat democratic alternative to the indentured sailors and more-or-less captive roving workforce options of the time is truly thought provoking. I'll never see pirates in quite the same way again. The intersection of aspects of the slave trade and the growing abolitionist movement with the developing Atlantic culture is a fascinating story told well by Linebaugh and Rediker. Certainly my favorite book of 2000 and one of my all-time favorites. 'For most readers the tale told here will be completely new. For those already well acquainted with the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the image of that age which they have been so carefully taught and cultivated will be profoundly challenged. ' - David Montgomery, author of Citizen Worker. Long before the American Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, a motley crew of sailors, slaves, pirates, laborers, market women, and indentured servants had ideas about freedom and equality that would forever change history. THE MANY HEADED-HYDRA recounts their stories in a sweeping history of the role of the dispossessed in the making of the modern world. When an unprecedented expansion of trade and colonization in the early seventeenth century launched the first global economy, a vast, diverse, and landless workforce was born. These workers crossed national, ethnic, and racial boundaries, as they circulated around the Atlantic world on trade ships and slave ships, from England to Virginia, from Africa to Barbados, and from the Americas back to Europe. Marshaling an impressive range of original research from archives in the Americas and Europe, the authors show how ordinary working people led dozens of rebellions on both sides of the North Atlantic. The rulers of the day called the multiethnic rebels a 'hydra' and brutally suppressed their risings, yet some of their ideas fueled the age of revolution. Others, hidden from history and recovered here, have much to teach us about our common humanity.


Linebaugh Peter and Rediker Marcus

Peter Linebaugh, professor of history at the University of Toledo, is a contributing editor of ALBION'S FATAL TREE and author of THE LONDON HANGED. A member of the Midnight Notes Collective, he lives in Toledo, Ohio.

Marcus Rediker, associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, is author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, winner of the American Studies Association's John Hope Franklin Prize and the Organization of American Historians' Merle Curti Social History Award. He is a contributing author of WHO BUILT AMERICA? and lives in Pittsburgh.



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