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A World Transformed explores how slavery thrived at the heart of the entire Western world for more than three centuries. Arguing that slavery can only be fully understood by stepping back from traditional national histories, this book collects the scattered accounts of the most recent scholarship into a comprehensive history of slavery and its shaping of the world we know. Celebrated historian James Walvin tells a global story that covers everything from the capitalist economy, labor, and the environment, to social culture and ideas of family, beauty and taste.

This book underscores just how thoroughly slavery is responsible for the making of the modern world. The enforced transportation and labour of millions of Africans became a massive social and economic force, catalysing the rapid development of multiple new and enormous trading systems with profound global consequences. The labour and products of enslaved people changed the consumption habits of millions – in India and Asia, Europe and Africa, in colonised and Indigenous American societies. Across time, slavery shaped many of the dominant features of Western taste: items and habits or rare and costly luxuries, some of which might seem, at first glance, utterly removed from the horrific reality of slavery. A World Transformed traces the global impacts of slavery over centuries, far beyond legal or historical endpoints, confirming that the world created by slave labour lives on today.


Praise for A World Transformed: 'Transatlantic slavery is an essential part of the histories of early modern Africa, Europe and the Americas. It played a vital role shaping the modern world, as Britain's best historian of slavery and the lives of enslaved Africans, shows us in this marvellously enthralling, judicious and authoritative survey of the global impact of the slavery machine and how it transformed the whole world, in Asia and Australia as much as in the Caribbean and West Africa. A brilliant guide to a momentous part of our shared history.'
Trevor G Burnard, Wilberforce Professor of Slavery and Emancipation and Director of the Wilberforce Institute
Praise for James Walvin's The Trader, the Owner, the Slave: In telling the stories of three men, Walvin deftly reveals how slavery, like so many aspects of empire, has been erased from the British consciousness and conscience. (One of Sathnam Sanghera's five favourite books about the British Empire.)
Sathnam Sanghera, The Week