For more than three centuries, slave ships carried millions of kidnapped Africans across the Atlantic in a "wooden world" where crew and captives alike lived with the ever-present fear of shipwreck, epidemics, and hungry sharks. As a cruel instrument of war and commerce, the slave ship helped to shape the Western world. Yet until now, it has remained a mystery.
In this intimate history of an infamous institution, award-winning scholar Marcus Rediker shines a light into the darkest corners of the "floating dungeons" of the eighteenth century. A vivid tale of suffering and survival, The Slave Ship charts the dramatic maritime birth of African American culture.