Cover: Slavish Shore: The Odyssey of Richard Henry Dana Jr., from Harvard University PressCover: Slavish Shore in HARDCOVER

Slavish Shore

The Odyssey of Richard Henry Dana Jr.

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$41.00 • £35.95 • €37.95

ISBN 9780674088191

Publication Date: 08/01/2015


400 pages

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

25 halftones


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Excellently reveals how Dana wrested from the text of the U.S. Constitution the acknowledgment that the African-American slave, a kind of property as far as the traditional reading went, also had rights.—Carol Bundy, The Wall Street Journal

The strongest element of Amestoy’s treatment in Slavish Shore is his dramatization of the intricacies and personalities of the growing Abolitionist fervor of Boston in the years of Dana’s flourishing… A fine new biography.—Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

[Slavish Shore] is a meticulous, engaging, and informative study of Dana’s life, which unequivocally defends its portrait of this significant American man of letters as an equally significant man of the law that will be of particular interest to both literary scholars and historians concerned with the intersections of maritime law, slavery, and aristocratic New England culture in the turbulent decades leading up to the Civil War.—Dan Walden, American Literary History

Slavish Shore, Jeffrey Amestoy’s superb new biography of Dana—the first in more than 50 years—should make many more people familiar with him… Slavish Shore presents an insightful portrait of Dana as a man as well as a lawyer… An excellent book—never tedious and often gripping—and Dana deserves our renewed attention.—Henry Cohen, The Federal Lawyer

How appropriate that the year 2015, the bicentennial of Richard Henry Dana Jr.’s birth, ushered in the publication of what will be considered for quite some time the definitive biography of the famed sailor, author, lawyer, and activist.—Brian Rouleau, Journal of the Early Republic

Amestoy’s biography is excellent: well written, comprehensive, empathetic, and well researched… Amestoy is at his best, better than any other biographer, when narrating Dana’s role in several of America’s crucial cases in which human rights were at risk and a moral compass was needed.—Rick Kennedy, New England Quarterly

Slavish Shore is the first new biography of Richard Henry Dana in over fifty years, and rigorous attention to Dana is long overdue. Amestoy is an excellent writer who takes us gracefully through Dana’s fascinating life, providing much new insight into his defense of fugitive slaves and his work on the treason case against Jefferson Davis. It is an important story, very well told.—Steven Lubet, author of Fugitive Justice: Runaways, Rescuers, and Slavery on Trial

Both a richly detailed biography of Richard Henry Dana and a snapshot of American life at the end of the age of sail, Amestoy’s Slavish Shore is the perfect companion volume for anyone who has been captivated by Two Years Before the Mast. Amestoy’s book follows Dana as he carries home the lessons he learned at sea and shocks the hidebound world of upper-crust Boston by standing up for the rights of seamen and fugitive slaves. But Slavish Shore also gives us the story of a private man caught in the sometimes suffocating atmosphere of family life, charting a haphazard course between independence and duty, ambition and disappointment.—Wes Davis, editor of An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry

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