The Great Stono River Slave Rebellion of 1739
Oxford University Press 2010
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network September 26, 2012 Benjamin A. Smith
In Cry Liberty: The Great Stono River Slave Rebellion of 1739 (Oxford, 2010), Peter C. Hoffer offers a succinct and refreshing new look at the Stono slave rebellion of 1739, an event that has been the subject of much historical scholarship. His main departure from previous interpretations of what actually happened on that fateful night on that lowcountry South Carolina road is that the event was not premeditated, as other historians often argue. Instead, as Dr. Hoffer reveals in this meticulously researched volume, the true story is likely one of contingency. His nuanced examination of the few primary sources that exist is commendable and make his argument that the insurrection was not planned all the more convincing.
The book–other than forcing us to revisit other possible underlying motivations for rebellion–draws into question larger issues surrounding the writing of history and the authorial decisions made by professional historians.