If there were a genre called moral narrative, this piece (and the book on which it is based) would exemplify it. The driving threads in the story are nothing less than forces of good and evil: anti- and pro-slavery factions in colonial-era England. It makes for an exceptionally compelling tale. Offering enough concrete detail to engage the imagination, Hochschild also covers a sweeping and momentous story. A single character unites this broad narrative, an activist named Thomas Clarkson. Hochschild shows, in fascinating ways, the parallels between Clarkson’s popular, English antislavery movement and the grassroots political efforts of modern America. Throughout, Hochschild’s voice is passionate, human—yet grounded in thoroughly reported historical evidence.

This article is based on Hochschild’s book "Bury the Chains: Prophets and rebels in the fight to free an empire’s slaves," which was published in 2005.

Read “Against All Odds,” by Adam Hochschild

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