I believe it is difficult for those who publish their own memoirs to escape the imputation of vanity; nor is this the only disadvantage under which they labor: it is also their misfortune, that what is uncommon is rarely, if ever, believed, and what is obvious we are apt to turn from with disgust, and to charge the writer with impertinence. People generally think those memoirs only worthy to be read or remembered which abound in great or striking events, those, in short, which in a high degree excite either admiration or pity: all others they consign to contempt and oblivion. It is therefore, I confess, not a little hazardous in a private and obscure individual, and a stranger too, thus to solicit the indulgent attention of the public; especially when I own I offer here the history of neither a saint, a hero, nor a tyrant. I believe there are few events in my life, which have not happened to many: it is true the incidents of it are numerous; and, did I consider myself an European, I might say my sufferings were great: but when I compare my lot with that of most of my countrymen, I regard myself as a particular favorite of Heaven, and acknowledge the mercies of Providence in every occurrence of my life. If then the following narrative does not appear sufficiently interesting to engage general attention, let my motive be some excuse for its publication. I am not so foolishly vain as to expect from it either immortality or literary reputation.
Public Domain (P)2016 Shane
Great narrator! The story is very informative and transformative in nature as we are taken through the trials and moments of hope of the writer.
"First hand account of slavery"
Olaudah Equiano wrote his memoir in 1789 as a two-volume work. Following the publication of his book, he traveled throughout Great Britain as an abolitionist and author. He married Susanna Collen in 1792, and had two daughters. Equiano died in London in 1797.
The first part of the book describes Equiano’s native African culture and countryside. He was born in Eboe, in what is now Nigeria. He tells of his capture as a child along with his sister and being sold into slavery. He was sent to the West Indies. He was sold again and spent some time in Virginia working on a plantation. He was sold again; this time to the owner/captain of a merchant ship and was taken to England. While the Captain was ashore, Equiano was sent to school and learned to read and write English. He also learned about Christianity. He would then go to sea with the Captain. He was sold several times and ended up sold to a Quaker merchant who employed him in a variety of positions. He saved money and purchased his freedom.
The book is well written but in the style of the 1780s. His descriptions of extreme hardship and desperate conditions are interspersed with his astonishment at new sights and experiences. He also tells of his culture shock at his introduction to European culture and their treatment of slaves. This is an important book to read as it is one of the few first-hand narratives of slavery in the 1700s. It is also important to read as slavery is still a problem today primarily in Africa.
Jeff Moon does a good job narrating the book. Moon is an actor, singer, voiceover artist and audiobook narrator.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.