In an adventurous and extraordinary life, Equiano (c.1745-c.1797) criss-crossed the Atlantic world, from West Africa to the Caribbean to the USA to Britain, either as a slave or fighting with the Royal Navy. His account of his life is not only one of the great documents of the abolition movement, but also a startling, moving story of danger and betrayal. "Great Journeys" allows readers to travel both around the planet and back through the centuries - but also back into ideas and worlds frightening, ruthless and cruel in different ways from our own. Few reading experiences can begin to match that of engaging with writers who saw astounding things: great civilisations, walls of ice, violent and implacable jungles, deserts and mountains, multitudes of birds and flowers new to science. Reading these books is to see the world afresh, to rediscover a time when many cultures were quite strange to each other, where legends and stories were treated as facts and in which so much was still to be discovered.
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Olaudah Equiano (1745 - 1797) was a former slave who became an outspoken opponent of the slave trade.Vincent Carretta is Professor of English at the University of Maryland. He has edited other African narratives for Penguin Classics.
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