Wake uses archival records to piece together the untold story of female-led slave rebellions and revolts.

However, it is also a memoir of the author’s difficulty in obtaining the information. Despite having a Ph.D. in history, she runs right into the wall labeled the victors write the history. And these “victors” didn’t see female slaves as important enough to even record their court testimony before being burned at the stake.

Unfortunately, the lack of records forces Dr. Hall to use “historical imagination in order to reconstruct a story”. While I am disappointed that this “history” was fictionalized, the two stories within Wake are excellent. Who knew that 10% of slave ships had an insurrection? Or that the one thing that separated the rebellious ships from the others was “the more women onboard a slave ship, the more likely a revolt would occur”. The illustrations are pen and ink in a woodcut style, which is perfect to set the time period (1700s) in the reader’s mind.

Wake is an important book with previously untold stories. It should be in every library. 4 stars!

Thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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