White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam's One Million White Slaves

Giles Milton, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $24 (316p) ISBN 978-0-374-28935-5

For this harrowing story of white captives in 18th-century Morocco, Milton (author of the highly praised Nathaniel's Nutmeg ) draws primarily on the memoir of a Cornish cabin boy, Thomas Pellow, who was taken by Islamic pirates in 1716 and sold as a slave to the legendarily tyrannical Sultan Moulay Ismail. Pellow remained in Morocco for more than 20 years, his family barely recognizing him when he at last escaped home. Placing Pellow's tale within wider horizons, Milton describes how, during the 17th and 18th centuries, thousands of European captives were snatched from their coastal villages by Islamic slave traders intent on waging war on Christendom. Put into forced labor and appalling living conditions, they perished in huge numbers. As a pragmatic convert to Islam, Pellow fared better, earning a wife who bore him a daughter. Milton includes Pellow's years as a soldier in Moulay Ismail's army and draws out his cliff-hanging escape back to England. Pellow's sensational tale dominates the book, and though rendered in seductively poised prose, in the end it feels short on ideas and argument. Milton also fails to cite other historians working in this area (a prime example being Linda Colley). 16 pages of b&w illus. not seen by PW ; 2 maps. Agent, Maggie Noach. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/02/2005
Release date: 06/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 316 pages - 978-0-340-79470-8
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-340-79469-2
Compact Disc - 3 pages - 978-1-84032-960-5
Paperback - 316 pages - 978-0-312-42529-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-84032-959-9
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4668-0727-3
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4447-1772-3
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