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Slavery (A-level History NEA): Books and book chapters

How to read a history book

"You need to take on board something very important about history books: when using them for research, you should never, ever read them from cover to cover. The vast majority of ‘specialist’ history books were never intended to be read in this way. Instead you should, using your evolving LoEs, use a variety of books to find specific, additional information that may prove priceless in your analysis. You might do this by using the contents page at the start of the book, but you will find, with proper, academic books, that the index is a ‘treasure map’, allowing you to access specific areas without having to wade your way through hundreds of pages." Librarian's note: Make sure that when you make notes, you always record the book and the page(s) you used both so you can return to it again, and for referencing purposes. There are lots of suggested texts here - and no expectation that you read them all. Use the ones that seem most relevant to your LOE.

Accessing books

The page below gives an electronic version of your reading list, which includes:

  • Links to the books on our online catalogue. These can help you:
    • read the 'blurb' for the book to decide if you really want it.
    • see if the book is available and to reserve a copy to borrow. Just log in on the right hand side of the online catalogue page using your student number and school network password and click 'reserve' under the cover image of the book. Details of our click and collect service can be found here. If a copy is available in the Library and you want it the same day there is no need to reserve it - please just ask Library staff to collect it from the shelf for you.
    • 'search inside' the book on Amazon (clicking on the book cover in the catalogue record will take you to the Amazon record). This always allows you to see the contents list and index before deciding whether to borrow the book, and also a limited portion of the text inside. It can be very useful if you have written down a quote you want to use but forgotten to note the page number!
  • PDF logoPDF scans of key chapters. These are taken under the schools' CLA license and are only available to you as members of Oakham School. They must not be shared outside our school community. Note that only one chapter (or up to 5% of a book) may be shared in this way so there may be plenty of other useful information in the book that you would need to borrow it to find. Note also that the scans are not searchable as it is not permitted to use Optical Character Recognition under the terms of the CLA license.
  • Mr Roberts' comments and tips - particularly on the scanned chapters.
Note that for the duration of the coursework, to make sure the resources are available to everyone, you may only borrow up to TWO books from this list at any one time. You can then have them for two weeks and may only renew them if they have not been reserved by someone else.


Citing and referencing

Although all the information is here to use in creating your own citations and bibliography, these references are not in the required format for your coursework and you will need to restructure them. There is more information about this in the Using sources in your work tab. Please ask your teacher if you are unsure.

Recommended reading - general texts

Cover image: image

Ferguson, Niall (2003). Empire : How Britain Made the Modern World. London: Penguin. (2 copies)

PDF iconDownload scan of Chapter 3: The mission
Mr Roberts says "Useful background overview for key themes"

Cover image: Book image

Gott, Richard (2011). Britain's Empire : Resistance, Repression and Revolt. London: Verso. (1 copy)

Cover image: Book imageJordan, Michael (2010). The Great Abolition Sham: The True Story of the End of the British Slave Trade. Stroud: History Press. (2 copies)

PDF iconDownload scan of Chapter 12: A questionable kind of liberty
Mr Roberts says "Useful emphasis/ analysis of the final stage of the battle for abolition. +/- sig. of the Great Reform Act."

Cover image: Book image

Reddie, Richard (2007). Abolition! : The Struggle to Abolish Slavery in the British Colonies. Oxford: Lion Hudson. (2 copies)

Cover image: Book image

Schama, Simon (2001). A History of Britain : The British Wars 1603-1776. London: BBC. (1 copy)

Cover image: Book image

Schama, Simon (2002). A History of Britain : The Fate of Empire - 1776-2000. London: BBC. (1 copy)

Cover image: Book image  Schama, Simon (2005). Rough Crossings : Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution. BBC Worldwide Ltd. (1 copy)

Cover image: Book image

Walvin, James (2019). Freedom : The Overthrow of the Slave Empires. London: Robinson. (2 copies)

Cover image: Book image 

Walvin, James (2019). How Sugar Corrupted the World : From Slavery to Obesity. London: Robinson. (2 copies)

Cover image: Book image

Walvin, James (2001). Black Ivory : Slavery in the British Empire. 2nd ed. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. (2 copies)

PDF iconDownload a scan of Chapter 18: Ending it all. The crusade against slavery.
Mr Roberts says "Excellent analysis of the causes of abolition and the context for it".

Cover image: Book image 

Walvin, James (2007). A Short History of Slavery. London: Penguin. (1 copy)

Recommended reading - academic texts

Marshall, P. J. (2001). The Oxford History of the British Empire (Volume 2): The Eighteenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (2 copies)

PDF iconDownload scan of Chapter 19: The British West Indies in the age of abolition, 1748-1815
Mr Roberts says "Includes a direct commentary/ critique of Eric Williams and very compelling points"

Porter, Andrew (2001). The Oxford History of the British Empire (Volume 3): Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

PDF iconDownload scan of Chapter 21: The British West Indies
Mr Roberts says "Excellent on the final struggle for abolition"

Drescher, Seymour (2010). Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition. 2nd ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

PDF iconDownload scan of Chapter 3: The protected economy before the French slave revolution
Mr Roberts says "Direct unpicking of Williams interpretation"

Key icon Key text

Martin, Steve (1999). Britain and the Slave Trade. London: Channel 4 Books.

PDF iconDownload a scan of Chapter 5: Abolition

Tomkins, Stephen (2010). The Clapham Sect: How Wilberforce's circle transformed Britain. Oxford: Lion.

Walvin, James (2011). The Zong: A massacre, the law and the end of slavery. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

PDF iconDownload scan of Chapter 7: In the eyes of the law
Mr Roberts says "Importance of the Somerset case"

Walvin, James (1998). The Quakers: Money and Morals. London: John Murray.

 Walvin, James (Ed.) (1982). Slavery and British Society 1776-1846. London: Macmillan.

PDF iconDownload scan of Chapter 2: The propaganda of anti-slavery

Mr Roberts says "The introduction is also worth reading" (but couldn't scan under CLA license)

Williams, Eric (1994). Capitalism & Slavery. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Key icon Key text for interpretation


Lean, Garth (2007). God's Politician: William Wilberforce's Struggle. London: Darton, Longman & Todd. (1 copy)

Hague, William (2008). William Wilberforce: The Life of the Great Anti-Slave Trade Campaigner. London: Harper Perennial. (4 copies)

PDF iconDownload scan of Chapter 13: Abolition

Ehrman, J. (1969). The Younger Pitt. London: Constable. (1 copy)

Ehrman, J. (1983). The Younger Pitt Volume 2: The Reluctant Transition. London: Constable.(1 copy)

Hague, William (2004). William Pitt the Younger. Harper Perennial, 2004. (1 copy)

Contemporary texts and sources

Equiano, Olaudah (2003). The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings. London: Penguin. (2 copies)

Lyall, Andrew (2019). Granville Sharp's Cases on Slavery. Oxford: Hart Publishing. (Library copy reference only. Please ask if you want to use it in the Library. 3 day quarantine between users.)

PDF iconDownload scan of Introduction (which is more substantial than it sounds - 87 pages!)

Pinfold, John (2007). The Slave Trade Debate: Contemporary Writings for and Against. Oxford: Bodleian Library. (1 copy)

Other books not on your original reading list

Daunton, M. J. (1995). Progress and Poverty : An Economic and Social History of Britain 1700-1850. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (1 copy)

PDF iconDownload scan of Chapter 20: Mercantilism and free trade
Mr Roberts says "Detailed insights into the move from mercantilism to free trade and how it didn't really become a reality until the 1830s and 1840s (later than Eric Willimas suggests)."

Hilton, Boyd (2006). A Mad, Bad and Dangerous People?: England 1783-1846.The New Oxford History of England. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (1 copy)

PDF iconDownload a scan of p.184-194
Mr Roberts says "Interesting points RE Abolition in political context and national identity"

Smith, Simon (1998). British Imperialism 1750-1970. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (2 copies)

PDF iconDownload a scan of Chapter 4: Humanitarianism, anti-slavery and missionary activity
Mr Roberts says "Excellent overview analysis. Refs to Williams controversy"

Tomkins, Stephen (2007). William Wilberforce : A Biography. Oxford: Lion. (4 copies)

PDF iconDownload scan of Chapter 15: Abolition

Click and collect service

The library is currently offering a Click & Collect service while the physical library remains closed to most pupils. 

To use this service, click below:

Normal term-time Library opening hours:
Mon-Fri: 08:30-21:15
Sat: 08:00-16:00
Sun: 14:00-18:00