A.E. Rooks adds global and historical context to the travesties and tragedies that took place along the coast of West Africa in the 1800s. A versatile, accomplished scholar, and two-time Jeopardy! champion, Rooks introduces a cast of ambitious commanders, insensitive rulers and policymakers, heroic ship captains, beleaguered sailors and heartless enslavers ... Rooks greatly enlarges the context of the Black Joke’s legendary four-year run, delving into the maritime, economic and political issues of the day ... Rooks accumulates these daunting details with a wry but respectful touch. Her occasional wit, perhaps incongruous given the dire events she relates, may be her way of reminding us of our common humanity, still present even amid inhumane conditions.
An accessible history ... Though the writing occasionally lacks polish, Rooks succeeds in capturing the human dimensions of the story. This is an enlightening take on a lesser-known aspect of the fight to end slavery.