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The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society 1838-1956


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About the Author

James Heartfield has written on native rights for the Journal of Pacific History, Arena, the Fiji Times, and elsewhere. His work has also appeared in the Times Educational Supplement, the Guardian, the Telegraph, and the Times. He is the author of The Aborigines Protection Society: Humanitarian Imperialism in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada, South Africa, and the Congo, 1836-1909 (OUP, 2011).


A very readable book by an accomplished author who handles narrative, argument and analysis with admirable clarity. The work of the Society and the zeitgeist which powered it is a remarkable story and Heartfield's is a significant contribution to our understanding of an important strand of British social and intellectual history. * Richard Rathbone, emeritus professor and professorial research associate at SOAS, London; co-author of African History: A Very Short Introduction *
The most comprehensive history yet of an organisation that laid foundations for Britain's philanthropic interventions overseas. Heartfield enables us to see how antislavery activists saw themselves reforming the world, while also hinting at their often unintended effects. This is a vital resource for anyone grappling with the complicated legacies of Britain's Empire. * Alan Lester, Professor of Historical Geography, University of Sussex *
This is an excellent book which narrates for the first time, and in fine-grain detail, the works, ideals, tensions and shifts of the Anti-Slavery Society - as the author rightly suggests, the first and longest standing "civil society organisation". Enthusiastically recommended. * Robbie Shilliam, Reader in International Relations, Queen Mary University of London; author of The Black Pacific: Anticolonial Struggles and Oceanic Connections *
Heartfield's important and meticulously-documented account shows clearly how the intertwining of ideals and interests in the original abolitionist movement produced the convergence of liberal anti-slavery and British imperialism in the following century. * Nicholas Draper, University College London, author of Legacies of British Slave-ownership: Colonial Slavery and the Formation of Victorian Britain *
A landmark study . . . that is impressive in its scale and ambition. His detailed analysis . . . is a model of clarity . . . impressive in its grasp of detail. Heartfield's thoughtful and illuminating study will be of obvious interest to students and scholars alike. Readable and accessible, The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1838-1956 is an important book that is likely to become the standard history of what is rightly regarded as the first international human rights organization in the world. -- Professor Oldfield

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