Forthcoming Book: “The Fearless Benjamin Lay”


Marcus Rediker’s The Fearless Benjamin Lay—a book about the Quaker abolitionist who tackled slavery in Barbados and Pennsylvania in the 18th century—will be published by Beacon/Verso in September 2017.

Description: The Fearless Benjamin Lay chronicles the transatlantic life and times of a singular and astonishing man—a Quaker dwarf who became one of the first ever to demand the total, unconditional emancipation of all enslaved Africans around the world. He became an abolitionist in Barbados in 1718. Years later in Philadelphia he performed public guerrilla theater to shame slave masters, insisting that human bondage violated the fundamental principles of Christianity. He wrote a fiery, controversial book against bondage that Benjamin Franklin published in 1738. He lived in a cave, made his own clothes, refused to consume anything produced by slave labor, championed animal rights, and embraced vegetarianism. He acted on his ideals to create a new, practical, revolutionary way of life.

Marcus Rediker is Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh. Among his many books and articles, he published Outlaws of the Atlantic: Sailors, Pirates, and Motley Crews in the Age of Sail (Beacon Press/Verso, 2014); The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom (Viking-Penguin 2012); The Slave Ship: A Human History (Viking-Penguin 2007); Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age (Beacon Press/Verso 2004); and the co-edited volume Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World, with Emma Christopher and Cassandra Pybus (University of California Press 2007).

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