The Many-Headed Hydra Book Review

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Book Review The Many Headed-Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic A huge portion of America’s history is shrouded in mist due to most historians only interested in glorifying the triumphs of our “founding fathers” instead of the efforts of the people below them. Authors Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker attempt to bring to light the slaves and other lower class citizens; and the arduous conditions they had to endure to satisfy their superiors or slave owners. They believe these diverse groups of individuals were “essential to the rise of capitalism and the modern, global economy” (Peter and Rediker 6-7). This book is a significant contribution to the darker side of America’s history, giving credit where it is due (7). The title of the book refers to a creature from Greek mythology, a “many-headed” serpent. The multiple heads represent the members of the resistance that attempted to overthrow their captors or in other words, the elite. The hydra was a target from a prominent figure of Greek mythology, Hercules, to destroy ("Review: The Many-Headed Hydra (Do or Die).”). Most of the history that Americans are accustomed to learning is packaged in a form that easy to digest, that is, less graphic and more peaceful. Authors Peter and Rediker provide the reader with an overview of the “slavery, genocide, and exploitation” that they had to endure. One account of the hydra’s struggle was the “Sea-Venture” expedition in which the slaves who would contribute to rise of the “New World” made a crash landing onto an island of abundant amenities. Bermuda was the “island” that they accidentally stumbled upon. The remaining crewmembers began to take in all of these benefits of food, shelter, and favored enjoying the rest of their lives in paradise than what was surely to be the opposite in Virginia (10). But surely
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