Who would have thought that a French emigre’ would have had such a profound effect on the abolitionist movement in the 18th century? I have to admit that I had never heard of the man. But Dr. Jackson makes a clear case for the subtitle of his book. Mr. Benezet was so dogged in his lifelong efforts to abolish the peculiar institution that he had a profound affect on the debate – even managing to persuade such influential men as Benjamin Franklin to the cause.
With such an interesting topic, the book is chock full of amazing facts and historical tidbits that make it a fascinating discovery of little-known American (and international) history. It is an academic book. It doesn’t have the page-turning pace of a murder mystery novel. And the use of actual quotes from the historical figures discussed can make deciphering the text a challenge here and there (as spelling and terms in common use have changed a bit in the last 200+ years). But I think that can also be part of the enjoyment.
Dr. Jackson has done an amazing job of amassing supporting and explanatory notes which are collected at the back. Clearly the man did exhaustive research in preparing this book. The only criticism I would have is with the editor. There are some typographical errors in words and names which could cause a little heartburn. And, yes, I know they are typos because – for instance – the names of two authors being cited are both spelled significantly differently within one footnote.
Nonetheless, it is an interesting book. If you enjoy history and interesting discoveries in the historical record, you’ll like what Dr. Jackson has given us. You can see more about the book by clicking on the picture above.