In 'Blood Legacy', Alex Renton offers a chilling account of slavery in the West Indies in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this well-documented and brilliantly written book, Renton draws on the history of his own family - going back seven generations - and their involvement in slavery. His book is sobering in that it reveals how the well-off and influential families in the UK today owe part of their riches to slavery. Renton donates the advance and royalties from the sales of this book to educational and youth welfare projects in the Caribbean and the UK.
Through the story of his own family’s history as slave and plantation owners, Alex Renton looks at how we owe it to the present to understand the legacy of the past. When British Caribbean slavery was abolished across most of the British Empire in 1833, it was not the newly liberated who received compensation, but the tens of thousands of enslavers who were paid millions of pounds in government money. The descendants of some of those slave owners are among the wealthiest and most powerful people in Britain today.
Blood Legacy explores what inheritance – political, economic, moral and spiritual – has been passed to the descendants of the slave owners and the descendants of the enslaved. He also asks, crucially, how the former – himself among them – can begin to make reparations for the past.
Praise and awards
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE
‘An incredible work of scholarship’ Sathnam Sanghera
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