The Common Wind

The Common Wind:Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution

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A remarkable intellectual history of the slave revolts that made the modern revolutionary era

The Common Wind is a gripping and colorful account of the intercontinental networks that tied together the free and enslaved masses of the New World. Having delved deep into the gray obscurity of official eighteenth-century records in Spanish, English, and French, Julius S. Scott has written a powerful “history from below.” Scott follows the spread of “rumors of emancipation” and the people behind them, bringing to life the protagonists in the slave revolution.
By tracking the colliding worlds of buccaneers, military deserters, and maroon communards from Venezuela to Virginia, Scott records the transmission of contagious mutinies and insurrections in unparalleled detail, providing readers with an intellectual history of the enslaved.
Though The Common Wind is credited with having “opened up the Black Atlantic with a rigor and a commitment to the power of written words,” the manuscript remained unpublished for thirty-two years. Now, after receiving wide acclaim from leading historians of slavery and the New World, it has been published by Verso for the first time, with a foreword by the academic and author Marcus Rediker.

Reviews

  • A captivating odyssey across the age of Revolution.

    Times Literary Supplement
  • “Over the past three decades, scholarship on the Black Atlantic and black internationalism has flourished. The Common Wind deserves a great deal of credit for this development … Julius Scott offers an inspiring history about the subaltern production, transformative power, and global circulation of ideas.”

    Brandon ByrdAfrican American Intellectual History Society
  • "Scott has done what very few scholars have been able to do; he has uncovered a vast communication network that relied primarily on the ephemeral — word of mouth rather than paper...Scott’s storytelling abilities are singularly compelling...[His] prose is highly accessible, not to mention mellifluous and full of striking imagery...Its singular contribution remains unmatched."

    Los Angeles Review of Books