Marcus Rediker

About This Author
Marcus Rediker is the Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh and the award-winning author of The Slave Ship. He lives in Pittsburgh.
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Marcus Rediker is the Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh and the award-winning author of The Slave Ship. He lives in Pittsburgh.
Books by thisAuthor
  • The Slave Ship

    The Slave Ship
    A Human History
    In this widely praised history of an infamous institution, award-winning scholar Marcus Rediker shines a light into the darkest corners of the British and American slave ships of the eighteenth century. Drawing on thirty years of research in maritime archives, court records, diaries, and firsthand accounts, The Slave Ship is riveting and sobering in its revelations, reconstructing in chilling detail a world nearly lost to history: the ?floating dungeons? at the forefront of the birth of African American culture.

    The Many-Headed Hydra

    The Many-Headed Hydra
    Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden...
    Winner of the International Labor History Award 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.

    Villains of All Nations

    Villains of All Nations
    Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age
    Villains of All Nations explores the 'Golden Age' of Atlantic piracy (1716-1726) and the infamous generation whose images underlie our modern, romanticized view of pirates. Rediker introduces us to the dreaded black flag, the Jolly Roger; swashbuckling figures such as Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard; and the unnamed, unlimbed pirate who was likely Robert Louis Stevenson's model for Long John Silver in Treasure Island. This history shows from the bottom up how sailors emerged from deadly working conditions on merchant and naval ships, turned pirate, and created a starkly different reality aboard their own ships, electing their officers, dividing their booty equitably, and maintaining a multinational social order. The real lives of this motley crew-which included cross-dressing women, people of color, and the'outcasts of all nations'-are far more compelling than contemporary myth. From the Hardcover edition.

    The Amistad Rebellion

    The Amistad Rebellion
    An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom
    On June 28, 1839, the Spanish slave schooner Amistad set sail from Havana on a routine delivery of human cargo. On a moonless night, after four days at sea, the captive Africans rose up, killed the captain, and seized control of the ship. They attempted to sail to a safe port, but were captured by the U.S. Navy and thrown into jail in Connecticut. Their legal battle for freedom eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where their cause was argued by former president John Quincy Adams. In a landmark ruling, they were freed and eventually returned to Africa. The rebellion became one of the best-known events in the history of American slavery, celebrated as a triumph of the legal system in films and books, all reflecting the elite perspective of the judges, politicians, and abolitionists involved in the case. In this powerful and highly original account, Marcus Rediker reclaims the rebellion for its true proponents: the African rebels who risked death to stake a claim for freedom. Using newly discovered evidence, Rediker reframes the story to show how a small group of courageous men fought and won an epic battle against Spanish and American slaveholders and their governments. He reaches back to Africa to find the rebels’ roots, narrates their cataclysmic transatlantic journey, and unfolds a prison story of great drama and emotion. Featuring vividly drawn portraits of the Africans, their captors, and their abolitionist allies, he shows how the rebels captured the popular imagination and helped to inspire and build a movement that was part of a grand global struggle between slavery and freedom. The actions aboard the Amistad that July night and in the days and months that followed were pivotal events in American and Atlantic history, but not for the reasons we have always thought. The successful Amistad rebellion changed the very nature of the struggle against slavery. As a handful of self-emancipated Africans steered their own course to freedom, they opened a way for millions to follow. This stunning book honors their achievement. 

  • Sex, Race and Class-The Perspective of Winning

    Sex, Race and Class-The Perspective of Winning
    A Selection of Writings 1952-2011
    Branching off Marx’s theories of class struggle, this impressive collection of essays on workers’ rights as they pertains to women’s rights aims to educate and inform those interested in radical feminist labor theory. Arguing that class struggle manifests itself as the conflict between the reproduction and survival of the human race, the general theme of the collected essays leans left and warns of market exploitation, war, and ecological disaster. Spanning nearly six decades and compiling essays that have appeared in anthologies or are selections from Selma James' books—some printed here for the first time—these selections preach equality in wages for men and women alike, especially in nontraditional work environments.

    Class Analysis in Early America and the Atlantic World

    Class Analysis in Early America and the Atlantic World
    Foundations and Future
    Given the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the growing strength of global capitalism, the deindustrialization of wealthy nations, and new academic fashions, class relations are often considered an obsolete mode of historical analysis. Yet unprecedented levels of material inequality and class fragmentation continue to plague both the wealthier and the poorer parts of the world. Addressing this fundamental disconnect between contemporary historical scholarship and reality,Class Analysis in Early America and the Atlantic World, a special issue ofLabor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, offers a reevaluation of the potential and future of class analysis in scholarly work, particularly as it relates to increasing the understanding of the popular struggle in the early modern Atlantic world, a struggle that lies at the heart of many of today’s class-related dilemmas. Assembling essays written by three generations of labor historians, each with markedly different approaches to the labor histories of early America and the Atlantic world, this issue offers unique insights into the evolution of class analysis and its shifting place in the field of labor history. In one essay, a renowned member of the first generation of “new social historians” reflects on his work, considering the past and future of class analysis while highlighting some of his current views about class in early America. In other essays, a new generation of scholars enriches scholarship on early America and the Atlantic by incorporating complex and nuanced discussions of race and gender into traditional class analyses. Perhaps signaling the future of the field, another essay discusses the theoretical foundations and implications of a globalized mode of historical class analysis, examining the complicated connections among peoples in Europe, Africa, and North America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the impact these connections had in shaping early America and the Atlantic world.