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Funhouse Mirror

Christopher L. Brown: ‘Capitalism and Slavery’, 14 December 2023

Capitalism and Slavery 
by Eric Williams.
Penguin, 304 pp., £9.99, February 2022, 978 0 241 54816 5
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... The information on Barclays came from a book published in 1944: Capitalism and Slavery by Eric Williams. ‘In 1756,’ Williams wrote, ‘there were 84 Quakers listed as members of the Company of Merchants Trading to Africa, among them the Barclay and Baring families.’ He had drawn, in turn, on a ...

Destined to Disappear

Susan Pedersen: ‘Race Studies’, 20 October 2016

White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations 
by Robert Vitalis.
Cornell, 272 pp., $29.95, November 2015, 978 0 8014 5397 7
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... he also notes the contributions of the historians E. Franklin Frazier (PhD Chicago 1931) and Eric Williams (PhD Oxford 1938), who taught at Howard before returning to Trinidad in the late 1940s. Of the main four, all but Tate – the first African-American woman to receive a PhD in this field – are today reasonably well known, something that ...


E.S. Turner: Kiss me, Eric, 17 April 2003

Dean Farrar and ‘Eric’: A Study of ‘Eric, or Little by Little’, together with the Complete Text of the Book 
by Ian Anstruther.
Haggerston, 237 pp., £19.95, January 2003, 1 869812 19 0
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... From the 11th century to the 19th not a single Eric was to be found in England, according to the Harrap Book of Boys’ and Girls’ Names. Then in 1858 the schoolmaster Frederic Farrar, not yet a dean, published that passionately morbid tale Eric, or Little by Little. This was the book which, in the face of much mockery, put the wind up two generations of youth ...

Powers of Darkness

Michael Taylor: Made by Free Hands, 21 October 2021

Not Made by Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition 
by Bronwen Everill.
Harvard, 318 pp., £31.95, September 2020, 978 0 674 24098 8
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... or any part of Africa.Everill situates her history within an economic historiography pioneered by Eric Williams and Joseph Inikori, but it’s also a complement to J.H. Plumb and Neil McKendrick’s vision of a consumer revolution. In the former tradition, the histories of enslavement and economic development are understood to be inextricable: as Britain ...

Later, Not Now

Christopher L. Brown: Histories of Emancipation, 15 July 2021

Murder on the Middle Passage: The Trial of Captain Kimber 
by Nicholas Rogers.
Boydell, 267 pp., £16.99, April 2020, 978 1 78327 482 6
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The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery 
by Michael Taylor.
Bodley Head, 382 pp., £20, November 2020, 978 1 84792 571 8
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... of the forty thousand people who filed for compensation. In Capitalism and Slavery (1944), Eric Williams argued that profits from the British plantations financed the industrial revolution, an argument that caused controversy among British economic historians for more than fifty years. The Legacies project suggests that in key respects ...

Resistance from Elsewhere

Kevin Okoth: Black Marxism, 7 April 2022

Black Marxism 
by Cedric Robinson.
Penguin, 436 pp., £12.99, February 2021, 978 0 241 51417 7
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Cedric Robinson: The Time of the Black Radical Tradition 
by Joshua Myers.
Polity, 276 pp., £17.99, September 2021, 978 1 5095 3792 1
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... Capitalism and Slavery (1944), the historian and future prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Eric Williams, had broken with orthodoxy by arguing that racism was a product of slavery, not its cause. A variety of peoples had, he argued, been employed as unfree labour in the Americas, from indentured European peasants to ‘disreputable’ women and ...

‘We prefer their company’

Sadiah Qureshi: Black British History, 15 June 2017

Black and British: A Forgotten History 
by David Olusoga.
Pan Macmillan, 624 pp., £25, November 2016, 978 1 4472 9973 8
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... The tool draws on new research that supports the argument made in Capitalism and Slavery (1944) by Eric Williams, the future prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, that the wealth generated by enslavement contributed to 19th-century industrialisation and thus to the reshaping of British culture and society.In the Victorian era black people weren’t an ...

Agent Untraceable, Owner Not Responding

Laleh Khalili: Abandoned Seafarers, 30 March 2023

Cabin Fever: Trapped On Board a Cruise Ship When the Pandemic Hit 
by Michael Smith and Jonathan Franklin.
Endeavour, 259 pp., £20, July 2022, 978 1 913068 73 8
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Dead in the Water: Murder and Fraud in the World’s Most Secretive Industry 
by Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel.
Atlantic, 268 pp., £10.99, May, 978 1 83895 255 6
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... Lloyd’s had a monopoly on the maritime insurance of human cargoes of enslaved Africans. In 1944, Eric Williams pointed out in Capitalism and Slavery that ‘many advertisements in the London Gazette about runaway slaves listed Lloyd’s as the place where they should be returned.’ After the abolition of the slave trade, Lloyd’s continued to focus on ...


Deborah Friedell: The Heart and the Fist, 24 May 2018

... same way, even with the same pauses and hand gestures. At the end, I would play on my phone one of Eric’s earliest campaign ads, in which he shoots a machine gun into a field as he promises to take ‘dead aim at politics as usual’. ‘If you’re ready for a conservative outsider,’ he says, ‘I’m ready to fire away.’ I would tell how Sheena and I ...

Woke Capital

Laleh Khalili, 7 September 2023

The Key Man: How the Global Elite Was Duped by a Capitalist Fairy Tale 
by Simon Clark and Will Louch.
Penguin, 342 pp., £10.99, February, 978 0 241 98894 7
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Icarus: The Life and Death of the Abraaj Group 
by Brian Brivati.
Biteback, 349 pp., £9.99, January 2022, 978 1 78590 733 3
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Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World 
by Brett Christophers.
Verso, 310 pp., £20, April, 978 1 83976 898 9
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... suggested by eminent thinkers of Africa and the Caribbean, from C.L.R. James, George Padmore and Eric Williams of Trinidad, to Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Michael Manley of Jamaica. The New International Economic Order (NIEO) called for and the 1974 charter of economic rights put forward by the UN General Assembly enshrined ...

German Jew

Michael Irwin, 17 April 1980

The Missing Years 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 281 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 297 77707 6
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Jack be nimble 
by Nigel Williams.
Secker, 213 pp., £5.50, March 1980, 0 436 57155 2
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Identity Papers 
by Anthony Cronin.
Co-op Books, 194 pp., £4.50, February 1980, 0 905441 23 0
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Narrow Rooms 
by James Purdy.
Black Sheep Books, 185 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 906538 60 2
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Six Moral Tales 
by Eric Rohmer, translated by Sabine d’Estrée.
Lorrimer, 252 pp., £4.95, February 1980, 0 85647 075 9
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... detail agitates the imagination as Dr Lasson’s rather flat story-telling does not. Nigel Williams, who won the Somerset Maugham Award for Fiction in 1978, has produced a second novel, which shows plenty of talent but is rather a mess. Its hero, Jack Warliss, a writer of sorts, invents a series of aliases for himself as he struggles to find his true ...

Donald’s Duck

John Sturrock, 22 August 1996

by Charles Williams.
Little, Brown, 336 pp., £20, August 1996, 0 316 88097 3
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... cheers from the assembled England, which was a nice extravagance on their part. The bowler was Eric Hollies, a down-market leg-spinner. Bradman stopped Hollies’s first ball to him and played on to the second, which was a googly, and a historic party-pooper. We had come to see the unique Bradman bat, not an ephemeral trundler like Hollies bowl. He had no ...

Dining at the White House

Susan Pedersen: Ralph Bunche, 29 June 2023

The Absolutely Indispensable Man: Ralph Bunche, the United Nations and the Fight to End Empire 
by Kal Raustiala.
Oxford, 661 pp., £26.99, March, 978 0 19 760223 2
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... diaspora intellectuals and scholars (Alain Locke, Rayford Logan, Merze Tate, E. Franklin Frazier, Eric Williams) who together would subject the global racial order to excoriating analysis.Bunche spent a dozen years at Howard, finding his wife, Ruth, among his students; the school also proved a springboard for an astonishingly forward-looking research ...


R.W. Johnson, 8 February 1990

Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, Socialism 
by Raymond Williams, edited by Robin Gable.
Verso, 334 pp., £29.95, February 1989, 0 86091 229 9
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The Alien Mind of Raymond Williams 
by Jan Gorak.
Missouri, 132 pp., $9.95, December 1988, 0 8262 0688 3
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Raymond WilliamsWriting, Culture, Politics 
by Alan O’Connor.
Blackwell, 180 pp., £27.50, June 1989, 0 631 16589 4
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Raymond Williams on Television: Selected Writings 
edited by Alan O’Connor.
Routledge, 223 pp., £7.95, April 1989, 9780415026277
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News from Nowhere: No 6. Raymond Williams: Third Generation 
edited by Tony Pinkney.
Oxford English Limited, 108 pp., £3.50, February 1989
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Raymond WilliamsCritical Perspectives 
edited by Terry Eagleton.
Polity, 235 pp., £29.50, September 1989, 9780745603841
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... Raymond Williams’s death in January 1988 has been followed by an avalanche of obituarial tribute. To some extent, the tributes were a matter of the Left giving a last, sad cheer for one of its most versatile and prolific heroes. Alan O’Connor’s bibliography of works by and about Williams covers an extraordinary 47 pages and includes 29 critical works, five novels, five short stories and five plays by Williams (which, together, have sold over a million copies in Britain alone), as well as perhaps a thousand articles ...

Short Cuts

Rory Scothorne: Class before Nation, 14 December 2017

... reputation came from its adoption of ‘folk politics’, a term coined by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams in their book Inventing the Future. Privileging the ‘small-scale, the authentic, the traditional and the natural’, it is, they write, a ‘political common sense that has become out of joint with the actual mechanisms of power’. Many in the ...

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