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Creek Running North
March 14, 2005
Friends in the news
His latest work, Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves, continues his exploration of the West's exploitation of Africa. It describes how and why England, reliant on slaves to labor on profitable Caribbean plantations, grappled with the moral and practical consequences of slavery and its abolition.
I had lunch wth Adam a couple months ago, just before the book was due to see print, and we chatted about bad news for a while. I'm not talking about gossip over misfortunes, nor complaining about the horrible state of American politics - though we did some of that - but about the phenomenon of bad news and how it affects people, especially those people who (like Adam and myself) pay focused attention to it on a daily basis.
I planned to write an essay on the subject, and was going to read Adam's new book beforehand - his previous King Leopold's Ghost was one of the most bad-news-filled things I've read in my life - and then the Boxing Day Tsunami happened in the middle of my rereading Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others, and well, let's just say the subject changed rapidly and I've had to rethink the essay, which will most likely appear here.
And I'm still going to read Adam's book soon.