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Island on Fire by Tom Zoellner
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Island on Fire

The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire

$17.96 USD

Retail price (USD): $19.95

Discount: 10%

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Narrator Mirron Willis
Length 10 hours 20 minutes
Language English
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From a New York Times bestselling author, a gripping account of the slave rebellion that led to the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

For five horrific weeks after Christmas in 1831, Jamaica was convulsed by an uprising of its enslaved people. What started as a peaceful labor strike quickly turned into a full-blown revolt, leaving hundreds of plantation houses in smoking ruins. By the time British troops had put down the rebels, more than a thousand Jamaicans lay dead from summary executions and extrajudicial murder.

While the rebels lost their military gamble, their sacrifice accelerated the larger struggle for freedom in the British Atlantic. The daring and suffering of the Jamaicans galvanized public opinion throughout the empire, triggering a decisive turn against slavery. For centuries bondage had fed Britain’s appetite for sugar. Within two years of the Christmas rebellion, slavery was formally abolished.

Island on Fire is a dramatic day-by-day account of this transformative uprising. A skillful storyteller, Tom Zoellner goes back to the primary sources to tell the intimate story of the men and women who rose up and tasted liberty for a few brief weeks. He provides the first full portrait of the rebellion’s enigmatic leader, Samuel Sharpe, and gives us a poignant glimpse of the struggles and dreams of the many Jamaicans who died for liberty.

Tom Zoellner is the author of Uranium, Train, and The Heartless Stone and coauthor of the New York Times bestselling An Ordinary Man. He teaches at Chapman University and Dartmouth College and is the politics editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Mirron Willis—actor of film, stage, and television—is the winner of the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2012 and a finalist for the Audie in 2015, as well as the winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audiobook recordings. He has worked extensively in film and television and on stage with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Houston Shakespeare Festival, and the Ensemble Theatre, among others.

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Reviews

“Zoellner’s vigorous, fast-paced account brings to life a varied gallery of participants.”

“Impressively researched, this is a valuable addition to Jamaica’s documented history.”

“Resurrecting this important historical episode, Zoellner moves nimbly through the research, giving an exciting account of the events as well as the significant consequences.”

“Zoellner makes deft use of primary sources and illustrates how the atmosphere of energetic political reform and events like Sharpe’s rebellion converged to end slavery in the ‘agricultural prison camp’ of Jamaica and in the British Empire at large.”

“Narrator Mirron Willis relates the history with talent and skill.”

“A highly readable but carefully documented account of the greatest of all British slave rebellions, the miseries that led to it, and the momentous changes it wrought.”

“Acutely relevant to the racial unrest of our own time. Island on Fire is impeccably researched and seductively readable.”

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