Greg Grandin is author of Fordlandia, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A Professor of History at New York University, he has written for the New Statesman, New York Times, and others, and has been a Guggenheim Fellow. He lives in New York.
Empire of Necessity
One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, seal hunter and abolitionist Captain Amasa Delano climbed aboard the Tryal, a distressed Spanish slaver. He spent all day on the ship, sharing food and water, yet failed to see that the slaves, having slaughtered most of the crew, were now their own masters. Later, when Delano caught on, he chased the ship down, responding with barbaric violence. Drawing on never-before-consulted records on four continents, Greg Grandin follows this group of courageous slaves and their persecutor from the horrors of the Middle Passage to their explosive confrontation. Wretched Tryal is a gripping account of obsessive mania, imperial exploitation, and lost ideals, set against the epic backdrop of the Age of Revolution that was remaking the world.