A source book of possible interest to Latin Americanists, this volume delivers more than the title promises. Contrary to most volumes on the black diaspora or comparative slavery, which tend to feature the North American experience, this one explicitly omits North America and Europe. This leaves about forty-four percent of the space for Egypt and Asia and fifty-six percent for Latin America and the Caribbean. The English-speaking Caribbean may be a little overrepresented in relation to present-day population, but the selections give a generous representation to Brazil and Cuba as well. This is possible through the writings of English-speaking visitors to those two countries; if any linguistic region is neglected, it would be the French and Dutch-speaking Caribbean. But even here the editor made an effort to include them, and several authorities are translated for the purpose of this publication—one from French, one from Dutch, one from Portuguese, and four from Spanish.
The Caribbean–Latin American section is arranged topically to deal with the slave experience at greatest length, then with maroons, slave revolts, and free blacks in these societies. The total of forty-one selections means that they are mainly very short, averaging a little less than three pages each, but some of the more important selections run on for ten pages or more, such as Wurdeman’s description of a Cuban slave plantation in 1844. The vast majority are travelers’ descriptions of societies they visit. Most are therefore original sources, with only six from the Caribbean–Latin American section drawn from secondary authorities, and these in circumstances that justify the departure from the purity of uncontaminated source material.