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Mr Atkinson’s Rum Contract: The Story of a Tangled Inheritance

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Like many well-to-do Georgian families, the Atkinsons’ wealth was acquired at a terrible cost, through the labour and lives of enslaved Africans. Overall I found this book a thought provoking and important addition to my understanding of 18th century Britain and our involvement with slavery and the abolition of what we all now understand was a despicable trade. Mr Atkinson’s Rum Contract is the story of a morally tangled inheritance, but it is also the story of Richard Atkinson the younger’s obsessive pursuit of Richard Atkinson the elder.

The timing of this book intrigues; had it been published even a month later, I wonder if Atkinson’s publishers would have asked him to address this shameful legacy more directly. Also fascinating given the increasing acknowledgement of the role or slavery in the development of the UK and the author faces that head on, and it gives it a contemporary resonance.The broad range of the topics covered above makes this a really enlightening and intereresting book, in a way that if one pigeon holed the book into any single themes above would reduce its appeal to the broader population and likely annoy the true specialist in a given theme. Not a dry book of historical facts but a lively, entertaining and absorbing story of a world long past. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. A really interesting family history, such a wealth of sources and letters for the prominent members of the family in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

By using the Web site, you confirm that you have read, understood, and agreed to be bound by the Terms and Conditions. Still, the thing that’s most interesting about it is the fact that many of his ancestors were slaveowners, holding significant estates in Jamaica.You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. Richard Atkinson was in his late 30s and approaching a milestone he had long feared - the age at which his father died – when one day he came across a box of old family letters gathering dust in a cupboard.

The author, a distant kinsman of Richard 'rum' Atkinson, inherited a box of letters and started digging into his family history - and we are lucky that he has the knack of writing wonderfully readable prose. Remarkables REMARKABLES Intriguing, stunning, or otherwise remarkable books These include fine editions, foreign publications that are exceptional for their interest or production, special editions and some first-rate books from very small publishers. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. One of the things I found most compelling was the way the author pieces together the story of his ancestors, their loves, ambitions and weaknesses, and gets to know them, as we do, through the book.Remarkables REMARKABLES Intriguing, stunning, or otherwise remarkable books These include fine editions, foreign publications exceptional for their interest or production, special editions and some first-rate books from very small publishers. It seems appropriate, as we enter the 19th century, that the second half of the book should read like the proceedings of Jarndyce v Jarndyce in Dickens’s Bleak House. It may sound like a stretch to say that it's given me a new lens with which to view today's turbulent world.

It provided insights into the enslaved people's environment, the British abolition campaign, and what happened when the system ended.Richard “Rum” Atkinson was an 18th-century adventurer of the kind you might find in a picaresque novel. As ubiquitous as her admirer, Lindsay appears everywhere: we find her entertaining Dr Johnson at dinner, philosophising with David Hume in Edinburgh, and embarking on a European jaunt with Maria Fitzherbert, mistress to the Prince of Wales. As another review described, at the moment, this is an extensive family record as opposed to something for a wider audience. The author's namesake is some mover and shaker whether it be Government contracts to supply the redcoats battling George Washington with rum one of the much needed supplies or domestic political shenanigans battling Fox and co. Of course a lot of the history most people will know, but what is so interesting is the way well known events interact with the family and the way Atkinson managed to be if not at the centre of major events at least close by and talking to all the people who were.

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