The Creole Affair: The Slave Rebellion That Led the U.S. and Great Britain to the Brink of War

Arthur T. Downey. Rowman & Littlefield, $40 (220p) ISBN 978-1-4422-3661-5
Twenty years before the American Civil War, the slave-led mutiny of the Creole, a slave ship, threatened to spark a military conflict between the U.S. and Great Britain, after the two-masted brig docked in the British-governed, predominantly-black-inhabited Bahamas. The mutiny—led by the ironically named Madison Washington—takes up only a small but vibrant part of this split narrative. Former attorney and diplomat Downey (Civil War Lawyers) focuses on the increasingly tense relations between the two countries, and on the negotiations that allowed each to gracefully avoid military action, leaving the empty-handed New Orleans slave owners as the only truly unhappy parties. Downey allows readers to develop interest in the event’s main figures, helping enliven the discussion of the relevant legal issues. He also places the incident into context of both continental and at-sea slave rebellions, and of the fairly uneventful British abolition of slavery. It’s an enlightening book, and Downey’s framing of slavery within maritime history traces the development of a fitful friendship between Britain and the U.S. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
Release date: 08/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 236 pages - 978-1-4422-3662-2
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