Books

Another book to recommend, this time by a former flatmate. (That’s Jennifer, not Alexis).

Alexis de Tocqueville, Writings on Empire and Slavery, edited and translated by Jennifer Pitts, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. “In order for us to colonize to any extent, we must necessarily use not only violent measures, but visibly iniquitous ones. The quarrel is no longer between governments, but between races… the day a European plough touches the soil”. Some people are surprised to learn that the celebrated author of Democracy in America was also a strong partisan of the violent French subjugation of Algeria in the 1840s. Jennifer Pitts’ excellent edition translates several of Tocqueville’s influential political essays on Algeria and slavery into English, astonishingly enough for the first time, and provides useful background and commentary in a valuable introduction. Currently only in hardback; let’s hope this one goes into paperback soon.

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