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The Forgotten Slave Trade (Hardback)

The White European Slaves of Islam

P&S History Social History

By Simon Webb
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 20 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526769268
Published: 15th October 2020
Expected Re-release Date: 30th January 2021
This Week's Best Sellers Rank: #2


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Everybody knows about the transatlantic slave trade, which saw black Africans snatched from their homes, taken across the Atlantic Ocean and then sold into slavery. However, a century before Britain became involved in this terrible business, whole villages and towns in England, Ireland, Italy, Spain and other European countries were being depopulated by slavers, who transported the men, women and children to Africa where they were sold to the highest bidder. This is the forgotten slave trade; one which saw over a million Christians forced into captivity in the Muslim world.

Starting with the practice of slavery in the ancient world, Simon Webb traces the history of slavery in Europe, showing that the numbers involved were vast and that the victims were often treated far more cruelly than black slaves in America and the Caribbean. Castration, used very occasionally against black slaves taken across the Atlantic, was routinely carried out on an industrial scale on European boys who were exported to Africa and the Middle East. Most people are aware that the English city of Bristol was a major centre for the transatlantic slave trade in the eighteenth century, but hardly anyone knows that 1,000 years earlier it had been an important staging-post for the transfer of English slaves to Africa.

Reading this book will forever change how you view the slave trade and show that many commonly held beliefs about this controversial subject are almost wholly inaccurate and mistaken.

Webb's narrative is much more than a settling of the counts with history, as the freshness of his lucid analysis leads us to understand, looking at how many states tried to react to the threat of Barbary pirates and slaveholders, dynamics that are still relevant today in international politics. Webb once again takes us to look at some mechanisms of history in a simple but profound and well-documented way, and one of his books is once again extremely interesting and enjoyable, to bring out from the shadows what was once an "other" slave trade. , longer, more terrible, more implacable than the already terrible one that worked for years between Africa and America. Slavery, a terrible experience of all human societies, was not the fault and prerogative of a single culture, but it was widespread and was present for a long time, even up to almost our days, in other parts of the world. I deeply recommend this book to learn about another part of history and better understand many of the current events, the fruit and legacy of dynamics that began many centuries ago in the Mediterranean.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

I had high expectations from Forgotten Slave Trade by Simon Webb* – The White European Slaves of Islam – but I had no idea how amazingly interesting it is. If you read only one non-fiction book this year, make it this one. What this book makes, by talking on this so unknown part of the history, is to challenge our assumptions.

The book is written with respect for such a hard subject. Black African slaves are mentioned and comparisons are made, but he makes the point, again and again, that any kind of slavery is horrifying and inhumane. The subtitle points to Islam, but Christianity and Judaism are mentioned too. The book is not at all anti-Islamic... If you want to know more about British slaves, castration of slaves, why Bristol has more links to slavery than the trade in black people, you would need to read the book. I don’t want to talk too much about it, so I don’t spoil it. 5/5 stars

Read the full review here

Coffee and Books

A very interesting review of a terrible time in our world. Obviously excited about peeling off another layer in the history of slavery, the author brings keen enthusiasm to their exploration of the topic.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

This book will appeal to researchers or people with an interest and knowledge of the history of slavery or England's naval history, An insightful read.

NetGalley, Wendy M Rhodes

I knew quite a lot about the subject, but I realize that most people probably do know too little about this part of history. Naturally some things were news to me as well, and indeed, it is interesting to read about this subject in a compact book. The Arabs and Ottomans were some slave traders... I had also not realized the important role Bristol had in slave trade.

I appreciate that these more hidden aspects regarding slave trade are written about. I’ve never really understood why we try to hide and forget some parts of our history. How can we learn from our past mistakes if we are not willing to be open about them? If we only stick to what we learn in school or watch on TV our view of our world and it’s history is both narrow and misrepresented. I’m jubilant to see that there are authors out there writing about these subject, so thank you, Simon Webb!

NetGalley, Tove R
 Simon Webb

About Simon Webb

Simon Webb is the author of a number of non-fiction books, ranging from academic works on education to popular history. He works as a consultant on the subject of capital punishment to television companies and filmmakers and also writes for various magazines and newspapers; including the Times Educational SupplementThe Daily Telegraph and The Guardian.

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