The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin

NPR picks The Empire of Necessity as the best book (among both fiction and non-fiction books) of 2014. Maureen Corrigan, on Fresh Air, said:

“And finally, here’s my nominee for book of the year. It’s a work of non-fiction, even though I think this was a stronger year for fiction: Greg Grandin’s The Empire of Necessity…. I read The Empire of Necessity way back in January and it’s haunted me ever since.”

Wall Street Journal Best Books of 2014
Boston Globe Best Books of 2014
Financial Times (UK) Best Books of 2014
Kansas City Star 100 Best Books of 2014
Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2014
The Telegraph (UK) Best History Books of 2014

Editors’ Choice, New York Times

Recommended Books, San Francisco Chronicle

The Empire of Necessity is scholarship at its best. Greg Grandin’s deft penetration into the marrow of the slave industry is compelling, brilliant and necessary.”
—Toni Morrison

“His book, The Empire of Necessity, is a wonder of power, precision and sheer reading pleasure about human horror and degradation . . . revelatory and compelling.”
—Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

“I can’t say enough good things about The Empire of Necessity. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a decade. It should be essential reading not just for those interested in the African slave trade, but for anyone hoping to understand the commercial enterprise that built North and South America. The sprawling commerce in slaves also supplied Europe with the retirement money it’s been living on for more than a century.”
—Victor Lavalle, Bookforum

“Grandin’s pen is exquisite, the descriptions are lively and sensuous. But he is also deeply reflective. The book has import that extends beyond the interest of the story.”
—Imani Perry, San Francisco Chronicle

“Grandin’s book is impressive for many reasons . . . . [With] a suspenseful narrative structure that boomerangs back and forth through time, Grandin — a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (2009) — has delivered a page-turner. You read it as if it were a thriller novel by Scott Turow or Lee Child.”
—Kevin Nance, Chicago Tribune

“Frequently switching between topics and perspectives in successive chapters, Mr. Grandin ranges so freely through history that his book has a zigzagging course, like a schooner tacking constantly with the wind. But the voyage he takes us on is hardly directionless. The Empire of Necessity opens up fresh vistas on an institution deeply at odds with the age’s ostensible commitment to freedom and explores many forms of cruelty besides slavery . . . . A quietly powerful account that Melville himself would have admired.”
—David Reynolds, Wall Street Journal

“Powerful . . . through a remarkable feat of research he establishes a strong narrative line that gives the book coherence and momentum . . . . by reconstructing the world through which the slaves moved toward their doom, he has done more than any previous scholar — and there have been many — to illuminate the context of the work in which Melville confronted slavery without presuming to comprehend its vast ramifications.”
—Andrew Delbanco, New York Times

“I imagine Melville being thrilled and amazed by The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World simply because I am thrilled and amazed by this inventive, audacious, passionate volume, which has taught me so much about slavery, freedom, and deception in the New World.”
—Bruce Franklin, The Los Angeles Review of Books

“In this multifaceted masterpiece, Greg Grandin excavates the relentlessly fascinating history of a slave revolt to mine the enduring dilemmas of politics and identity in a New World where the Age of Freedom was also the Age of Slavery. This is that rare book in which the drama of the action and the drama of ideas are equally measured, a work of history and of literary reflection that is as urgent as it is timely.”
—Philip Gourevitch,
co-author of the The Ballad of Abu Ghraib

“Greg Grandin has done it again. Starting with a single dramatic encounter in the South Pacific he has shown us an entire world: of multiple continents, terrible bondage and the dream of freedom. This is also a story of how one episode changed the lives of a sea captain and a great writer from the other end of the earth. An extraordinary tale, beautifully told.”
—Adam Hochschild,
author of King Leopold’s Ghost

The Empire of Necessity is a work of astonishing power, eloquence and suspense—a genuine tour de force.”
—Debby Applegate,
author of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher

Also by Greg Grandin

Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin  Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism by Greg Grandin  The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War by Greg Grandin  The Blood of Guatemala: A History of Race and Nation by Greg Grandin

Teaching Empire’s Workshop

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The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin  The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin  The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin  The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin

The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin
The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin  The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin    The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin    The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin    The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin