Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bound with an Iron Chain: The Untold Story of How the British Transported 50,000 Convicts to Colonial America --by Anthony Vaver

Nonfiction – history
336 pages, Trade Paper
Footnotes/Endnotes: Yes
Illustrations: Yes, black and white, marginal quality
Suitable for eReader: Depends – if you read the end notes, no; if you don't care, yes.

The biggest complaint Rainy Day has of this book is the author's use of end notes instead of foot notes! But, as those of you who know Rainy Day know, that's a favorite rant of hers!

Rainy Day was aware that convicts had been sent to the Colonies, but had no idea it was so many or why. She naively thought it was a choice – go and get a second chance, or stay and face worse. Rainy Day did know about the penal colonies in Australia, which were true penal colonies. Here, in our Colonies, the people were sold for a finite period of time (7 or 14 years) and their owners had complete control over them. Some were cruel, some were not. Many of the convicts ran away, some actually became model citizens and their early lives forgotten.

In that period, starving children who stole a piece of bread were sentenced to death if caught. It was not an easy time to be alive – it was certainly not 'the good old days!' This book brings to life many of the convicts of the time, some of who survived the ocean voyage, some of who did not. It is a part of American History that isn't taught in the schools, and has had ramifications on our judicial system through the years.

It is a fascinating read, well written (except for the end notes!), and worth your investment in both time and money.

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