The Book of Negroes, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Abducted from her West African village at the age of eleven and sold as a slave in the American South, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom - and of finding her way home again.

After escaping the plantation, torn from her husband and child, she passes through Manhattan in the chaos of the Revolutionary War, is shipped to Nova Scotia, and then joins a group of freed slaves on a harrowing return odyssey to Africa. Based on a true story, Lawrence Hill's epic novel spans three continents and six decades to bring to life a dark and shameful chapter in our history through the story of one brave and resourceful woman.


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A true epic, The Book of Negroes chronicles the life of an African girl sold into slavery in the 1700s and the heartbreaking events which took her across a number of continents over the decades.This was very much a plot driven book, which took me a good 100 pages or so to get properly into. The first person narrative felt limiting in places - I didn't often get to connect with the true emotions of the protagonist, and at the beginning it felt quite like an averagely written chronicling of events. The plot saved it for me, though, and the harrowing story of both her slavery and difficult conditions under freedom kept it gripping.This book was initially sold under Someone Knows my Name in other countries, as the publishers felt The Book of Negroes was too contentious a title in some regions. However, this refers to a real historical document which detailed the coloured people, both free and indentured, who sailed in desperation from New York - where they feared they would be recaptured into slavery - to become part of the first settlers of the then British colony of Nova Scotia. A powerful and heartbreaking story of a desperate period in history, this was an enjoyable book but not my favourite style of writing.