As Robert C. Davis notes in this eye-opening account of Barbary Coastslavery, American historians have studied every aspect of enslavement of Africans by whites but have largely ignored enslavement of white (Europeans) by North Africans.
Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters is a carefully researched, clearly written account of what Prof. Davis calls “the other slavery,” which flourished during approximately the same period as the trans-Atlantic trade, and which devastated hundreds of European coastal communities.
Slavery plays nothing like the central role in the thinking of today’swhites that it does for blacks, but not because it was fleeting or trivial matter. The record of Mediterranean slavery is, indeed, as black as the most tendentious portrayals of American slavery. Prof. Davis, who teaches Italian social history at Ohio State University, casts a piercing light into this fascinating but neglected corner of history.
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