White Gold Paperback – 9 May 2005
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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 The account is supported by the unpublished letters and manuscripts of slaves and the various ambassadors sent to free them.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 --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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)
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Top Customer Reviews
I thoroughly recommend this book to all lovers of well written history.It fills a gap in our knowledge.
The story, as one would guess, is of the little known tale of white slaves that were captured bu the Barbary corsairs and sold to such places as Morocco and Algiers (Algeria). It goes into graphic detail about the conditions and brutality they endured, and the cruelty of their owners, particularly a despotic sultan of Morocco. I mean, you couldn't make up moulay Ismail, a brutal and ruthless villain, who was so unpredictable he could sometimes forgive even treason.
The character we follow is a chap called Thomas Pellow, captured at 11, and subjected to 23 years (ish) slavery. It follows his beatings, his enforced conversion to Islam, his rise in authority in the grandiose palace of Meknes, to when he even defied the Sultan yet lived. He then became a renegade, and thought in an army of such people, and made numerous desperate escape attempts.
Utterley absorbing. We follow sieges, naval battles, tortures, awful executions, daring emissaries, desperate escapes, betrayals. You couldn't ask for much more. If you like your history fast paced and bloody, this is for you.
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.
story of human endurance through the most horrific experiences
fate could throw at anyone,it also gave me an insight into how
the muslim world of north africa held christianity in hatred and
contempt.the tale of thomas pellow captured by barbary pirates
and his servitude under a cruel and sadistic ruler is a truly
remarkable and nightmarish journey told at a terrific pace but
still manages to pack in masses of historical facts and insight
into numerous locations and characters.apart from the central story of pellow and his adventures the descriptions of the conditions and labour of the european slaves is heart rending.
families torn apart,british governments powerless to stop the
white slavers is an episode of our history that needed to be told.a brilliant read.
The bias for primary sources does centre on British slaves, but there are mention of and recollections from other nationalities from all over Europe, as well North America. The only faults I found with it were in the way it has been speculated how people felt, when they did not leave a record or the way there was not more of a background to the events that are covered in this work. These are only minor gripes and have not taken away from my enjoyment of the piece. If history is the new Rock n' Roll, then it is nice to see someone come up with a subject that is not only new, but interesting. This has been an absolutely brilliant read and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Delivery on time in uk. Excellent reading. Informative and amazing history.Published 6 days ago by Rosemary Papadopoulou
Fascinating read. Eye-opening. Should be made into a block-buster film. Truly extraordinary what Thomas Pellow went through. How he survived, beggars belief. Couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 2 months ago by geoff
This book was a real eye opener into the capturing of some of our English, Irish, Welsh, Cornish and other British people. Including people from some parts of Europe. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A good thing to know the next time you meet some sort of self hating liberal who preaches white guilt..Published 3 months ago by Rich
Excellent book, should be made into film to tell the story which many people do not know.Published 6 months ago by M Milton
I was really looking forward to reading this book to learn a lot more on this absolutely fascinating period. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Shoto