At one point in this extraordinary book, the author, presenting what he calls the “radial lines of the ‘vast sphere of resurgent nationalism’” that converged in New York City, tells us that “only by connecting these dots” can we see what must have been obvious to the historical figures whose lives he is vividly portraying (p. 106). Connecting the dots is what Racial Migrations is all about. Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof crafts a dramatic story of how a group of Afro-Caribbean intellectuals and activists became connected, among themselves and with their white conationals, to create “one of the great freedom struggles of the nineteenth century” (p. 3).

That this study is presented as a dramatic work is evident in the opening pages, where we find a “cast of characters roughly in order of appearance.” Heading the long list are “the principals”: Rafael Serra, José...

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