Format Paperback
Publication Date 05/09/23
ISBN 9781639364589
Trim Size / Pages 8.25 x 5.5 in / 352

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The Sunken History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Simcha Jacobovici Sean Kingsley

A riveting and illuminating exploration of the transatlantic slave trade by an intrepid team of divers seeking to reclaim the stories of their ancestors.

“For me, Enslaved is an attempt to give a voice to the millions whose voices were silenced.”—Samuel L. Jackson, human rights activist and Hollywood icon

From the writers behind the acclaimed documentary series Enslaved (starring Samuel L. Jackson), comes a rich and revealing narrative of the true global and human scope of the transatlantic slave trade. The trade existed for 400 years, during which 12 million people were trafficked, and 2 million would die en route.

In these pages we meet the remarkable group, Diving with a Purpose (DWP), as they dive sunken slave ships all around the world. They search for remains and artifacts testifying to the millions of kidnapped Africans that were transported to Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. From manilla bracelets to shackles, cargo, and other possessions, the finds from these wrecks bring the stories of lost lives back to the surface.

As we follow the men and women of DWP across eleven countries, Jacobovici and Kingsley’s rich research puts the archaeology and history of these wrecks that lost between 1670 to 1858 in vivid context. From the ports of Gold Coast Africa, to the corporate hubs of trading companies of England, Portugal and the Netherlands, and the final destinations in the New World, Jacobovici and Kingsley show how the slave trade touched every nation and every society on earth.

Though global in scope, Enslaved makes history personal as we experience the divers’ sadness, anger, reverence, and awe as they hold tangible pieces of their ancestors’ world in their hands. What those people suffered on board those ships can never be forgiven. Enslaved works to ensure that it will always be remembered and understood, and is the first book to tell the story of the transatlantic slave trade from the bottom of the sea.

Simcha Jacobovici, co-author of The Jesus Family Tomb, is a three time Emmy-winning Israeli-Canadian documentary film-maker and a widely published writer and lecturer. His articles have appeared in publications such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Jacobovici is the host of “The Naked Archaeologist” on the History Channel. He resides in Israel with his wife and five children.

Dr. Sean Kingsley is a marine archaeologist who has explored over 350 wrecks from Israel to America. Off the United Kingdom, he identified the world’s earliest Royal African Company English ‘slaver’ ship. Sean is the author of fourteen books, writes for National Geographic and is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wreckwatch magazine about the sunken wonders of the world’s seas. 

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Endorsements & Reviews

“A very important book. Through shipwrecks and the investigations of a small group of underwater explorers, Jacobovici and Kingsley tell the story of slavery in monstrous, unflinching detail. It's a story that needs to be told and Jacobovici (a brilliant storyteller) and Kingsley (a master maritime archaeologist) give it to us point-blank. It's more than a book; it's a message never to be forgotten.” Mensun Bound, director of exploration for the Endurance22 expedition, and author of The Ship Beneath the Ice: The Discovery of Shackleton's Endurance
“For me, Enslaved is an attempt to give a voice to the millions whose voices were silenced.” Samuel L. Jackson, human rights activist and Hollywood icon
“A vast history has been submerged on the ocean floor for centuries. With Diving With A Purpose, Kingsley and Jacobovici share the stories of these people once viewed as cargo so that they will live on with dignity. Enslaved explores the global impact of slavery by investigating the ships carrying those that were enslaved as well as by digging into the history of port towns and the complexity of the illegal slave trade. A necessary, poignant work.” Booklist
“An informative account. Enslaved spotlights Diving with a Purpose, a group of scuba divers who located the Leusden, a Dutch slaver whose 1738 sinking off the coast of Suriname killed 664 enslaved Africans, and the schooner Home, an Underground Railroad “freedom boat” that sank in Lake Michigan in 1858, among other wrecks. The authors present a wealth of information and effectively commemorate the two million captured Africans who died en route to Europe and the New World. Readers will be horrified and enlightened.” Publishers Weekly
"Enslaved illuminates the horrors of slavery in a compelling new way. Built around the recovery of slavery's material artifacts, this book offers powerful reminders of our proximity to the past, of the scars slavery has left on our present, and of the struggles of oppressed people seeking to build new futures." Christopher Bonner, author of Remaking the Republic: Black Politics and the Creation of American Citizenship
“The spirt and souls of the enslaved peoples buried on the ocean floor and in other unlikely graveyards have not been silenced forever. This book enables descendants of enslaved Africans to better understand who they are and where they have come from.” Dr. Wilhelmina J. Donkoh, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Praise for Simcha Jacobovici:

"Absolutely fascinating. Many would argue the biggest story or one of the biggest stories of our lifetime.” NBC's TODAY
"Jacobovici is a maverick, a self-made Indiana Jones." Newsweek
Praise for Sean Kingsley:

"Kingsley's bracing tale of religious intrigue grips the imagination." Publisher's Weekly
"Readers will find that the thrill of tracing long-buried clues to those tantalizing locked gates is itself a great prize." Booklist