Cover: The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery, from Harvard University PressCover: The Reaper’s Garden in PAPERBACK

The Reaper’s Garden

Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery

Product Details


$27.00 • £23.95 • €24.95

ISBN 9780674057128

Publication Date: 09/30/2010


368 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

18 halftones, 4 maps, 2 graphs


Add to Cart

Educators: Request an Exam Copy (Learn more)

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Brown’s study ought to be read by scholars and students of Caribbean history as well as specialists of the black diaspora and the Atlantic World.—Philip Howard, The Americas

Engrossing… Brown’s major concern is the cultural significance of death in a land marked by high mortality. Here, his account is compelling and highly original. He is especially interested in how both whites and blacks used death to control the strange environment they found themselves in.—Trevor Burnard, Times Higher Education Supplement

Vincent Brown makes the dead talk. With his deep learning and powerful historical imagination, he calls upon the departed to explain the living. The Reaper’s Garden stretches the historical canvas and forces readers to think afresh. It is a major contribution to the history of Atlantic slavery.—Ira Berlin, author of Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America

In this riveting and remarkable book, Vincent Brown carries us to the epicenter of the experience of slavery. He shows us how, in plantation Jamaica and along the Atlantic currents that shaped it, the worlds of the living and the dead were always tightly intertwined.—Laurent Dubois, author of Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution

A magisterial and brilliant account of the politics of death in the world of Atlantic slavery. We experience in vivid detail the role of the dead in the relationships, aspirations, and politics of the living. If the ghost of slavery haunts us in the present, as Brown reminds us, it is because our freedom dreams are tethered to those of the enslaved.—Saidiya Hartman, author of Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

The Reaper’s Garden is a truly luminous book that will establish Vincent Brown’s reputation as a brilliant interpreter of the African diaspora.—Marcus Rediker, author of The Slave Ship: A Human History

An elegant and powerful study of the ways that all of Jamaica’s people—poor and rich, slave and free, black and white—lived in the constant shadow of death in England’s richest and most important colony. A profound exploration of the meanings of death and the dead for the living.—James Sidbury, author of Becoming African in America

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, by Peter Wilson, from Harvard University Press

A Lesson in German Military History with Peter Wilson

In his landmark book Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, acclaimed historian Peter H. Wilson offers a masterful reappraisal of German militarism and warfighting over the last five centuries, leading to the rise of Prussia and the world wars. Below, Wilson answers our questions about this complex history,