Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America” as Want to Read:
New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  240 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The most important work on seventeenth-century New England in a generation.

In the tradition of Edmund S. Morgan, whose American Slavery, American Freedom revolutionized colonial history, a new generation of historians is fundamentally rewriting Americas beginnings.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Wendy Warrens explosive New England Bound, which reclaims the lives of
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Liveright (first published June 6th 2016)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about New England Bound, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about New England Bound

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  240 ratings  ·  48 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America
Sue Tretter
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book and at the same time frustrating because so little is known of the "little people" whose names are mentioned. I was fortunate in that she writes several pages about a slave of one of my ancestors, Henry Bartholomew. The enslaved man, John, committed suicide and thus warrants attention yet so little is know about him, his original name, where he originated, how he came to be enslaved, what prompted his suicide, and what benefits did he hope to gain through suicide.
Ms Warren
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This text sheds a lot of light on the early history of slavery in the United States, particularly that in the area described by the title, though by necessity the author spends a due amount of time discussing the nature of the slave trade in the rest of the "New World" (a term that really should always be presented with quotes) for context. She gives a good amount of attention to the enslavement of native peoples as well as the importation of Africans, a much overlooked aspect of the slavery ...more
Wendy Warren's New England Bound is a delight - a warmly written, intensely thoughtful, and radically insightful look into the slavery that bound New England to the rest of the Atlantic World. Warren casts her net widely. She not only examines the structures and lived experiences of African enslaved persons, but Indian enslaved persons, too, and refutes the idea that New England was not a slave society by demonstrating how embedded it was in making slavery possible in the Caribbean.

Warren also
Ian yarington
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I thought it was good and well written but not sure it was all I thought it would be. Certainly good and worth the read because it's hard to find a true and honest representation of the slave trade. I feel like everything academic on the slave trade tries to paint certain pictures and doesn't get into the facts that much. This book sticks to facts within an anecdotal writing style.
Rachel Burdin
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really interesting and insightful book about slavery in New England. Warren lets everyone involved--white New Englanders, enslaved Africans, and Native Americans --speak for themselves, as far as she is able, and in doing so, drives home their humanity (for better, or for worse).
Elaine Messineo
Tons of information based on documentation. It changed my whole perspective on
slavery around the world and in particular early America.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Most Americans know about slavery on southern plantations, and about New England's role in achieving abolition. As school kids, most Americans learned about the horrors of plantation slavery, and were taught to take pride in the wisdom and perseverance of  the Northern states as leaders of the abolition movement. What we weren't taught anything about was the institution of slavery in New England, where many Native Americans and the first Africans were enslaved within a decade of the founding of ...more
Vel Veeter
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
And its got a pun in the title! A not very funny pun. Hrm, a slavery pun does feel a little gross.

Anyway, this was a finalist for the Pulitizer this year and so my local library picked up a copy and put it on Overdrive. It was a relatively short listen (read) and offers a sober, straight-forward assessment of New England colonies role in the slave trade. One of my favorite books ever is Changes in the Land by William Cronin, which details the New England colonies role in deforestation and this
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Huh. This was not exactly what I was expecting. Warren does a brilliant job illustrating how deeply slavery was woven into the economy and culture of colonial New England. We (especially New Englanders like me) often tend to think of New England (and much of the North in general) to be somehow less complicit in slavery than the South. This, of course, is completely untrue--New England was built on a slave economy, and the Atlantic slave trade was as crucial to its beginnings and successes as the ...more
Public library copy (my own library!) Studying New England history, stumbled upon the fact that there is a history of slavery in New England, and thus found this book which was published this year. What I didn't realize is that this book is about the English colonies, not the early American New England.

This author did a lot of work in writing this book. The first thing that jumped out at me was her incorrect use of 'a' instead of 'an' before words starting with a vowel sound. This is a scholarly
Stan  Prager
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Review of: New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America, by Wendy Warren
by Stan Prager (6-26-16)

Early on in New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America, a telling story is related that dates back to 1638, not even two decades removed from the Mayflower, of an English colonist near Boston who owned three enslaved Africans two women and one man that he sought to turn into breeding stock. When one of the females refused, he ordered the male slave to rape her in
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, reviewed
This is a history of New England, and as such it was unfamiliar to me, barring typical images of pilgrims at Thanksgiving. (The myth of settlers and natives sitting down and eating together in harmony seems to be a carefully crafted fiction that belies the actual truth of colonization, where natives were "removed" and sent to the West Indies as slaves, then "replaced" by African slaves who helped with the work of colonization: mainly contributing to the running of households, but also labouring ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As it turns out, the heyday of slavery in New England was long before the "peculiar institution" took over the South. Warren argues persuasively that enslaved native Americans and Africans were both scattered throughout the colonists' households from the earliest days of the Mass. Bay Colony, and that colonist John Winthrop's famous "city on a hill" was predicated on the existence of outsiders: "standing all around the base of that holy hill were enslaved and colonized people on whose backs the ...more
Peter Murray
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like many, I'd always considered slavery a thing of the South, even my family is from New England. Warren's book fills a gap in our knowledge with the telling of a history in which slavery was an integral part of the wealthy, New England merchant class from the early decades of the 17th century through the end of the 18th. She adds complexity to our understanding of how slavery "worked," that it was not just Africans but also Native Americans forced into bondage and traded, and that the sugar ...more
Ai Miller
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really really enjoyed this--it was concise and not boring, it created empathy and space for all kinds of experiences, and it's a trade history publication that talks directly about settler colonialism! I could see this being really incredibly useful in undergraduate courses or even just to start conversations with folks outside the academy (it could be a really excellent book club book, for example!) Obviously there are limitations to its scope, and I've read reviews about sourcing she doesn't ...more
So you think you know about slavery in the United States? Think again. If you grew up in New England and thought that slavery was only about plantations in southern states you sorely are mistaken. A good overview on how slavery in and connected to the northern states affected the economy and life of early colonial inhabitants. Of great interest is the focus on Native American slaves and how they were used as a trade "item". Highly recommended for anyone who wishes to understand the slave trade ...more
Melissa McHugh
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an incredible in depth look at how slavery shaped early colonial life. I'm working my way through a few different books about slavery and abolition so I can better prepare my lessons and my students, and I'm glad I started with this one. A lot of the times, our curriculum takes slavery out of the overall story and puts it in its own section or chapter. But this book shows how inextricably linked the practice was to the growth and development of early American life and it's important for ...more
Aja Marsh
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
The subject matter is interesting, but the approach of this book felt more like an extended reading of snippets of documents and the like-- an anthropological collection in a sense. I was hoping for more substance overall, but still got through it out of general curiosity as it is a part of "New World" slavery not much discussed in US History. Annoying audio actor choice-- hard to listen to, but doing this as an audiobook better guaranteed I'd get through the content than reading an e-book or ...more
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really nicely done, a painstakingly researched account of slavery in the northern New England colonies of the 1600s. Warren deftly does away with the myth that slavery was a "southern thing" and illustrates just how deeply slavery was tied to the lives and livelihood of New Englanders who would decry sins from the pulpit but had no problem keeping other human beings in bondage.

Excellent read. Recommended.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Excellent account of how New England really viewed and partook of slavery. Also brings out both indigenous peoples and African peoples were both slaves. Although it was hard to grasp some of the content, particularly the cruelties of the "masters" towards their enslaved peoples it is a must read for those of us who are interested in the subject. Very good book.
Chris Cook
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was kind of depressing, showing how New England, for all its calls for abolition and the end of slavery, were knee-deep in causing the slave market to begin with. Without the efforts of the New England ship fleets, there would not have been nearly so successful a slave trade in the West Indies and the South. This just goes to show everyone has skeletons in their closets.
Kayrene Smither
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, audio
This is a really good summary of slavery in early colonial America. I assume most don't realize how prevalent slavery was in that part of America. Lots of good information, but I did go a little deer in the headlights here and there. Very much appreciate all the research that had to go into this detailed accomplishment. Thank you, Ms. Warren, and E. Wiley for the narration.
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent book about how intertwined New England was with the economy and thus slavery in the Carribbean. I knew at least one of my ancestors was a slaver owner in Boston in the 1720/30's. I knew the sea captains went back and forth to Barbadoes and Antigua. But somehow I was in denial about slavery in New England. This book opened my eyes.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Destroys the idea that slavery wasn't present in early New England. An important book for New Englanders or anyone who believes the lie that the North wasn't involved in slavery from the very beginning as well as complicit up through the Civil War.
Loren Shultz
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written and documented but narrow in scope. I was surprised to learn that the early colonists kidnapped and sold Native Americans as well as Africans. It was, you know, all part of God's prescribed order.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good reminder of the ties, some obvious, some less so, between New England and slavery. Most of the middle felt like a fleshed our dissertation, which it was.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very good look at New England colonization and complicity in the Atlantic slave trade, with special attention paid to the Winthrop and Pynchon(!) families.
May 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Important refocusing of the often murky or completely obscured history of slavery in the colonial period of New England. Not inflammatory, but not pulling any punches either.
Michael Fasano-McCarron
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fine introduction to the extent of slavery in New England.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this more, but found the delivery too dry for history I'm reading just for personal knowledge. Somewhat devolved into a series of anecdotes. Well researched, but not for me.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution
  • Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom
  • Imagining New England: Explorations of Regional Identity from the Pilgrims to the Mid-Twentieth Century
  • The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War
  • They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South
  • The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control
  • Rekindled Prophecy (Greylyn The Guardian Angel Series, #1)
  • The Girls of Room 28: Friendship, Hope, and Survival in Theresienstadt
  • Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms
  • The Old Success (Richard Jury, #25)
  • The Man Who Ate His Boots: The Tragic History of the Search for the Northwest Passage
  • Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart
  • River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom
  • Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive
  • The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America
  • The Man with No Borders
  • The Devil Finds Work
  • How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States
See similar books…

Related Articles

Philippa Gregory is best known for reimagining the lives of famous royal women in bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn...
66 likes · 27 comments