White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and North Africa's One Million European Slaves Paperback – 9 May 2005
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Writer and journalist Giles Milton specializes in the history of travel and exploration. His latest literary adventure, White Gold, is the story of Thomas Pellow, a Cornish cabin boy who was captured at sea by a group of fanatical Islamic slave tradersthe Barbary corsairs, taken in chains to the great slave markets of Algiers, Tunis and Salè in Morocco and sold to the highest bidder. Pellows purchaser happened to be the tyrannical sultan of Morroco, Moulay Ismail, a man committed to building a vast imperial pleasure palace of unsurpassable splendour built entirely by Christian slave labour. After enduring long periods of torture Pellow converted to Islam and became the personal slave of the sultan for over two decadesincluding a stint as a soldier in the sultans armybefore finally making a dramatic escape and return to Cornwall. The account is supported by the unpublished letters and manuscripts of slaves and the various ambassadors sent to free them. This is an excellently written account of the history of the white slave trade. Pellows story is an extraordinary one but the real interest lies in the picture Milton builds of life in the slave pens and especially of daily life at the court of the spectacularly barbaric Moulay Ismail. --Larry Brown --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Giles Milton has a gift for searching out odd and forgotten corners of history and turning them into bestselling books... this is not a dry history, but a full-blooded narrative closer in style to a historical novel than to an academic study. (William Palmer Literary Review)
Milton's story could scarcely be more action-packed, and its setting and subsidiary characters are as fantastic as its events. (The Sunday Times)
An extraordinary story which few people will be at all familiar with... an exciting and sensational account of a really swash-buckling historical episode (Philip Hensher, Spectator)
Giles Milton's narrative races along as he stitches together a story of heroism, sacrifice and misplaced zeal, painstakingly researched from contemporary writing and records (Observer)
Giles Milton... has crafted an inspiration for those of us who believe that history can be exciting and entertaining (The Times)
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
I already knew a bit of this story - that Barbary corsairs raided the Cornish and Irish coasts in the seventeenth century for slaves, but I wasn't aware of the enormous scale of the Moroccan and Algerian white slave trade. Or that it continued up to the Congress of Vienna. And I had never heard of the dramatic incident that brought it to an end - a British fleet, massively armed thanks to Britain being in the first flush of the Industrial Revolution, pounding Algiers to rubble until the local sultan agreed to give up the trade.
And did you know that an abusive gesture used by Muslims to Christians was to raise the middle finger, to indicate that there was just one God? Anyway, a great read.
It was Pellow's sharp and smart nature that led him to follow his uncle on his ship, which made slaves of the whole crew, but it was also the same strength of character that allowed him to defy all odds (his uncle died and most of the crew) and become something of a valued slave to Moulay Ismail, ruler of Morocco, in Meknes and beyond. Even his forced apostasy from Christianity to Islam didn't dampen his hopes of returning to England one day, even though apostasy was highly frowned upon back then (but not, might I add, to the death). He was ordered to marry, and his wife bore him a daughter. Still he never gave up hope of escape. It was practically a miracle that his final journey across mountains swarming with bandits, who almost killed him, was a success, and he made it to the British military camp on Gibraltar. It's sad to note on Pellow's return to the little town of Penryn in Cornwall, where neither he nor his parents recognised each other (which is legit enough), he felt rather isolated and alien, with Morocco feeling like home.
To be honest, I'm surprised it's so short, considering the amount of information that seems to be left over from the era, but then again, Pellow's own account is still available, as are others', including a descendent of his family, Captain Edward Pellew, who gave Algiers a whupping (around 100 years after Thomas Pellow was captured by the Moors) causing significant enough damage to the slave city that it led not long after to the complete annihilation of the White Slave Trade by the French.
Milton's research took him to the very heart of the trade, the market in Algiers, which is still extant, though with (I presume) zero human cargo today. He unveils information about part of Europe's past that is shamefully brushed under the carpet, primarily, I would take a gander, because of the modern European obsession with guilt. Interestingly enough, the 300 odd years of the White Slave Trade overlapped with the Black Slave Trade, and so it isn't particularly surprising in the era of apology that millions of Europeans died at the hands of Muslims and their black slaves, and we hardly know the damnedest about it. Slavery is slavery, and it really doesn't matter where it's coming from, only that it's ended, which Europe did for both trades, consequently.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category