In A Free State

In a Free State
by V. S. Naipaul

No writer has rendered our boundariless, post-colonial world more acutely or prophetically than V. S. Naipaul, or given its upheavals such a hauntingly human face. A perfect case in point is this riveting novel, a masterful and stylishly rendered narrative of emigration, dislocation, and dread, accompanied by four supporting narratives.

In the beginning it is just a car trip through Africa. Two English people—Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys, and Linda, a supercilious “compound wife”—are driving back to their enclave after a stay in the capital. But in between lies the landscape of an unnamed country whose squalor and ethnic bloodletting suggest Idi Amin’s Uganda. And the farther Naipaul’s protagonists travel into it, the more they find themselves crossing the line that separates privileged outsiders from horrified victims. Alongside this Conradian tour de force are four incisive portraits of men seeking liberation far from home. By turns funny and terrifying, sorrowful and unsparing, In A Free State is Naipaul at his best.


A Free State
by Tom Piazza

The author of City of Refuge returns with a startling and powerful novel of race, violence, and identity set on the eve of the Civil War.

The year is 1855. Blackface minstrelsy is the most popular form of entertainment in a nation about to be torn apart by the battle over slavery. Henry Sims, a fugitive slave and a brilliant musician, has escaped to Philadelphia, where he earns money living by his wits and performing on the street. He is befriended by James Douglass, leader of a popular minstrel troupe struggling to compete with dozens of similar ensembles, who imagines that Henry’s skill and magnetism might restore his troupe’s sagging fortunes.

The problem is that black and white performers are not allowed to appear together onstage. Together, the two concoct a masquerade to protect Henry’s identity, and Henry creates a sensation in his first appearances with the troupe. Yet even as their plan begins to reverse the troupe’s decline, a brutal slave hunter named Tull Burton has been employed by Henry’s former master to track down the runaway and retrieve him, by any means necessary.

Bursting with narrative tension and unforgettable characters, shot through with unexpected turns and insight, A Free State is a thrilling reimagining of the American story by a novelist at the height of his powers.


The Free State of Jones
by Victoria E. Bynum

Between late 1863 and mid-1864, an armed band of Confederate deserters battled Confederate cavalry in the Piney Woods region of Jones County, Mississippi. Calling themselves the Knight Company after their captain, Newton Knight, they set up headquarters i

Against Marriage
by Clare Chambers

Against Marriage is a radical argument for the abolition of state-recognised marriage. Clare Chambers argues that state-recognised marriage violates both equality and liberty, even when expanded to include same-sex couples. Instead Chambers proposes the marriage-free state: an egalitarian state in which religious or secular marriages are permitted but have no legal status. Part I makes the case against marriage. Chambers investigates the critique of marriage that has developed within feminist and liberal theory. Feminists have long argued that marriage is a violation of equality since it is both sexist and heterosexist. Chambers endorses the feminist view and argues, in contrast to recent egalitarian pro-marriage movements, that same-sex marriage is not enough to make marriage equal. Chambers argues that state-recognised marriage is also problematic for liberalism, particularly political liberalism, since it imposes a controversial, hierarchical conception of the family that excludes many adults and children. Part II sets out the case for the marriage-free state. Chambers critically assesses recent theories that attempt to make marriage egalitarian, either by replacing it with relationship contracts or by replacing it with alternative statuses such as civil union. She then sets out a new model for the legal regulation of personal relationships. In the marriage-free state regulation is based on relationship practices not relationship status, and these practices are regulated separately rather than as a bundle. The marriage-free state thus employs piecemeal, practice-based regulation. Finally, Chambers considers how the marriage-free state should respond to unequal religious marriage. The result is an inspiring egalitarian approach that fits the diversity of real relationships.

The Free State of Winston
by Don Dodd, Amy Bartlett-Dodd

Based on a lifetime of researching and writing about their home county of Winston, the husband and wife team of Don and Amy Dodd have crafted a unique pictorial retrospective that conveys a serene sense of what it was like to grow up in the hills of Winston. Outlining the highlights of this Appalachian county’s history, from its opposition to the Confederacy to its slow evolution from its rustic, rural roots of the mid-nineteenth century, two hundred photographs illustrate a century of hill country culture. A sparsely settled, isolated county of small farms with uncultivated, forested land, most of Winston County was out of the mainstream of

Southern life for much of its history. The creation of the Bankhead National Forest preserved almost 200,000 acres of forested land, primarily in Winston, to perpetuate this “stranded frontier” into the post-World War II era. The story setting is scenic–fast-flowing creeks, waterfalls, bluffs, caves, natural bridges, and dense forests–and the

characters match the stage–individualistic, rugged pioneers, more than a thousand mentioned by name within these pages. Winston has long resisted change, has held fast to traditional values, and, as seen in this treasured volume, is a place as unique as any other in America.


Southern Slaves in Free State Courts
by Paul Finkelman

Southern Slaves in Free State Courts: The Pamphlet Literature. New York: Garland, 1988. 3 Vols. 1,704 pp. With a New Introduction by Paul Finkelman. Reprinted 2007, 2013 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. Set ISBN-13: 9781584777380. Set ISBN-10:1584777389. Hardcover. New.

34 Pamphlets reprinted in fascimile, in 3 volumes, with a New Introduction by Paul Finkelman:
1. Francis Hargrave. An Argument in the Case of James Sommersett aNegro, Lately Determined by the Court of King’s Bench: Wherein it is Attempted to Demonstrate the Present Unlawfulness of Domestic Slavery in England. To Which is Prefixed a State of the Case. London, 1772. 82pp.
2. Edward Long. Candid Reflections Upon the Judgement Lately Awarded by the Court of King’s Bench, in Westminster-Hall, on What is Commonly Called the Negro Cause, by a Planter. London, 1772. 76 pp.
3. Britannia Libera, or a Defence of the Free State of Man in England, Against the Claim of Any Man There as a Slave. London, 1772. 47 pp.
4. Samuel Estwick. Considerations on the Negro Cause Commonly so Called, Addressed to the Right Honorable Lord Mansfield. London, 1763. [96] pp.
5. A Letter to Philo Africanus, Upon Slavery; In Answer to His of the 22nd of November, in the General Evening Post, Together With the Opinions of Sir John Strange, and Other Eminent Lawyers Upon This Subject, With the Sentence of Lord Mansfield, in the Case of Somerset and Knowles, 1772, With His Lordship’s Explanation of That Opinion in 1786. London, 1788. 40 pp.
6. John Haggard. The Judgment of the Right Hon. Lord Stowell, Respecting the Slavery of the Mongrel Woman, Grace, On An Appeal From The Vice-Admirality Court of Antigua. London, 1827. [50] pp.
7. Considerations on Certain Remarks on the Negro Slavery and Abolition Questions, in Lord Stowell’s Judgment in the Case of the Slave “Grace.” By a Briton. Newcastle, 1827. 18 pp.
8. Case of the Slave-Child Med. Report of the Arguments of Counsel and of the Opinion of the Court, in the Case of Commonwealth vs. Aves;Tried and Determined in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Boston, 1836. 40 pp.

Please contact us for a complete list of titles contained in these three volumes. Originally published as a part of the series Slavery, Race, and the American Legal System, 1700-1872, this set contains facsimiles of 34 rare pamphlets relating to court cases involving the status of slaves in non-slave jurisdictions, including Somerset v. Stewart (1772) and Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). As in the companion set Fugitive Slaves and American Courts, some pamphlets were part of the public debate over judicial decisions. Others used a case to promote the antislavery cause or, in some instances, support or justify slavery.



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