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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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07/09/2008 Archived Entry: "Book Review: To Plead Our Own Case"

To Plead Our Own Case: Personal Stories by Today's Slaves
Edited by Kevin Bales and Zoe Trodd
Published by Cornell University Press
ISBN-10: 0801474388
ISBN-13: 978-0801474385

Review by Linda Yau

To Plead Our Own Case as a book is comprised of 95 narratives, made by former and current slaves. These people are from multiple races, gender, and ages and they share a similar experience of abuse. Each chapter is written with an overview of the theme and then the account is introduced with the name of each victim, age and country of origin.

The practice of slavery is archaic in contemporary thinking, and technically should have been over since the progression from imperialistic colonies. Because of poverty, tradition, greed, and conflicts though, the practice of enslaving people still continues.

Slavery still exists underground though and it occurs on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. To Plead Our Own Case cites 27 million people currently sold and trafficked as slaves.

The editors define and give examples from the 95 stories, for the three most commonly practiced slavery: Chattel, debt bondage, and contracted. People are lured and deceived with empty promises of better work, or education. After enslavement, there is a dehumanizing aspect, where people are exploited and forced against their will with physical and mental actions. If the slave is freed, then there are still consequences that these people must endure or adjust to living in, such as being socially shunned, or of psychological and physical backlashes.

This nonfiction book was enjoyable to some degree. Because of the similarities between many of accounts, the book becomes redundant and stagnant in the latter chapters. For the activist enthusiast though, this is a book to pursue if this is your issue and for the history enthusiast, there are interesting historical overviews. This book is clearly an example of the globalization forces, where the world is becoming more unified. There is a small section toward the end that mentions contact information for selected abolition groups. To Plead Our Own Case is available as a trade paperback and there is a hardcover edition that is available as well.

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