Biography of a Self Made Man

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Chelsy Gray
Book Review #1
History 106-02
February 15, 2011

Vincent Carretta, Equiano the African Biography of a Self-made Man (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2005)

Overall this was an excellent book to read and to gain insightful information from. This non-fiction novel tells the story of a former slave Olaudah Equiano and his tales about the slave trade and his hardships and achievements. The story of the African slave Olaudah Equiano is controversial story because it’s many perceived fallacies in which it entails. Vincent Carretta does an excellent job in narrating the narratives in which Equiano wrote and explaining his roots. One of the main controversies held against Equiano is the truth behind where he was originally born. Critics believe that Equiano may have not been born in Africa, as he claimed, but in South Carolina. While reading I did not notice the author Carretta demonstrated any bias while telling the story of Equiano. He expresses that Equiano may have fabricated his roots being originated in Africa. He did not use facts that only supported his opinion but he recognized claims of critics of Equiano story. He acknowledges that Equiano may have fabricated his survival of the Middle East Passage to sell more copies of his book but he expresses how it helped advance the movement against the slave trade. I would say that Carretta is very up to date on the current and latest debate concerning the controversies over Equiano’s narratives of his life. He cites scholarly editions of works of Equiano and of Equiano’s contemporaries Ignatius Sancho and Ottobah Cugoano. In chapter ten of the novel the author uses Some Account of the Territories, which are found in Africa and other hot climates to support some of his statistic stated within chapter ten. I personally feel that the author did not try to persuade me as his audience to think a certain way for his own personal reasons. Throughout the novel he was very...
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