Cover image for Slavery : bondage throughout history
Slavery : bondage throughout history
Watkins, Richard Ross.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
Physical Description:
136 pages : illustrations ; 23 x 28 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 9.3 5.0 51229.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HT861 .W37 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Since the beginning of civilization there have been slaves. Men and women, young and old, black and white, from China to Brazil and everywhere in between, millions have been enslaved. Richard Watkins traces the countless journeys and trials of slaves around the world and throughout time, and champions those who fought against it and helped shape slave-free nations for future generations.

Author Notes

Richard Watkins is a full-time toy designer who loves old monster movies and toys from the sixties. He became fascinated with gladiators at age twelve when his parents traveled to Italy and brought back a book filled with stories of ancient Rome. He lives in West Chester, Ohio, with his wife and two daughters.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. From Spartacus to Frederick Douglass, Watkins discusses how people have been owned as property through history and across the world. His approach is neither by chronology nor geography: rather, he takes a number of comprehensive subjects--capture, trading, law, escape, revolt, etc.--and talks about each one across cultures and civilizations. One chapter discusses the work slaves did and the horrifying conditions of servitude in the Louisiana cotton fields, the mines near ancient Athens, the armies and harems of Islam, and the galley ships of the Middle Ages. Next comes the shock of the word today as Watkins describes the ways brutal slavery still exists. The accounts are detailed (and, occasionally, as in the case of ninteenth-century Haiti, too gruesome), with moving excerpts from personal testimony. The design is extraordinarily spacious; the pages are thick and white, the type large, and there are many black-and-white drawings by Watkins, including scenarios of slave markets and individual portraits. The comparative global view brings a new way of thinking about what's close to home that will be especially useful in world-history classes. Unfortunately, although the time line and three-page glossary are long and detailed, there are no source notes and just a scrap of bibliography. That's a poor model for students' own research and a barrier for those who want to know more. --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-A brilliantly written treatment of an abhorrent topic. Watkins elucidates the concept of "a person [being] owned by another as a piece of property" as playing a significant role in many civilizations from Babylon and Brazil to Native Americans and the Nazis. Students' eyes will be opened by the facts that "slavery hasn't always been racially motivated" and that it still exists today. Short biographical sketches and first-person accounts prove this by highlighting many hideous experiences, including those of a Southern U.S. cotton plantation slave, a forced laborer under Stalin's regime, and a boy killed in 1995 after being owned by a Pakistani carpet maker since the age of four. The text is straightforward while demonstrating an appropriate sensitivity, including a clear explanation of the current practice of child prostitution in Southeast Asia. (Uncharacteristically, the definition of concubine is vague.) Chapters are logically arranged to shed a global perspective on how enslaved peoples have been captured, shipped, sold, and treated for thousands of years; they are also able to stand alone. The numerous illustrations, done in pencil and marker on vellum, are stylized in a grim manner, but are not as strong as the text. This title is the most successful at such a broad aim since Milton Meltzer's All Times, All Peoples: A World History of Slavery (Harper & Row, 1980; o.p.) and is a must for all collections.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.