The Black Joke: The True Story of One Ship’s Battle Against the Slave Trade

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The Black Joke existed as a ship on both sides of the law, first as renegade then as regulator. Once utilized as a ship to transport slaves, it was repurposed to nab slave vessels. The slaves on board would be set free, the crew of the ship faced a tribunal, and the ship was ultimately auctioned off. The Black Joke was one example of the evolving views of the British government toward the slave trade. Many were veering toward abolition.

The Black Joke was just one of a flotilla of ships, operating in a civilian capacity, that sought out ships that defied treaties between the British and other countries (France, Brazil). The ship would haunt the waters around Africa for four years before being destroyed, but not before leaving a permanent mark against the slave trade.

The Black Joke by A.E. Rooks sheds light on a lesser known battle in the burgeoning abolitionist struggle. Rooks’ research on the ship is extensive, each seizure of a slaver ship worthy of its own story. The pursuits of the renegade slave ships by the Black Joke possess high drama, and Rooks’ fine writing highlights as much. It is a breathtaking historical addition to any library.


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Author A.E. Rooks
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 400 pages
Publisher Scribner
Publish Date 18-Jan-2022
ISBN 9781982128265
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2022
Category History
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