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Marcus Rediker is Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh. His “histories from below,” including The Slave Ship: A Human History, have won numerous awards, including the George Washington Book Prize, and have been translated into seventeen languages worldwide. He has produced a film, Ghosts of Amistad, with director Tony Buba, and written a play, “The Return of Benjamin Lay,” with playwright Naomi Wallace. He is currently writing a book about escaping slavery by sea in antebellum America.

Books and Other Writings


Under the Banner of King Death book cover by Marcus Rediker

Under the Banner of King Death

Pirates of the Atlantic, A Graphic Novel

by David Lester and Marcus Rediker, with Paul Buhle. A tale of mutiny, bloody battle, and social revolution, Under the Banner of King Death novelizes for the first time the real pirates, an itinerant community of outsiders, behind our legends.
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Book cover of Prophet Against Slavery by Marcus Rediker

Prophet Against Slavery
Benjamin Lay, A Graphic Novel

by David Lester, Marcus Rediker, and Paul Buhle
The revolutionary life of an 18th-century dwarf activist who was among the first to fight against slavery and animal cruelty. An action-packed chronicle of the remarkable and radical Benjamin Lay.
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Book cover of A Global History of Runaways by Marcus Rediker

A Global History of Runaways
Workers, Mobility, and Capitalism, 1600–1850

ed. by Marcus Rediker, Titas Chakraborty, and Matthias van Rossum
During global capitalism's long ascent from 1600–1850, workers of all kinds—slaves, indentured servants, convicts, domestic workers, soldiers, and sailors—repeatedly ran away from their masters and bosses, with profound effects.
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Follow Marcus on X

You have no idea how excited I am that the American premiere of my play, *The Return of Benjamin Lay*, co-authored by Naomi Wallace and starring @markpovinelli, will happen in Pittsburgh, thanks to Karla Boos and @QuantumTheatre.
Season tickets available:

A thought about writing history. I emphasize visual imagination as I read, interpret, order, and present evidence. Enabling the reader to visualize the people, places, and material realities of life can help to make history, like art, vivid and unforgettable.

Spoke to @SmithsonianSec Lonnie G. Bunch III—who is dredging up slave ships, building two new museums, and trying to stay above the culture wars—for @NewYorker’s Interviews Issue

Last week we held a reading of our play, *The Return Benjamin Lay*, starring @markpovinelli, at the annual convention of Little People of America in Baltimore. Mark was brilliant; the experience was unforgettable. Here we are in a talkback with the audience after the performance.

The countdown is on! ⌛

4 months until our 3rd graphic novel by @MarcusRediker, @LesterMecca, and Paul Buhle comes out! Get ready for New York’s Afro-Irish Uprising of 1741! 🔥

In my forthcoming book on escaping slavery by sea, I have a chapter on Frederick Douglass, a skilled caulker and a man of the waterfront. Is this not one of the best portraits you have ever seen?

Coming November 12, 2024 from @BeaconPressBks, our third "history from below" graphic novel, *Revolution by Fire*, by @LesterMecca, Paul Buhle, and your truly. Check out the trailer:

@YvetteHensen Ik heb daar te weinig over gelezen om een lijst te maken, maar als ik je een boek kan aanbevelen, dan is het 'Het slavenschip' van @MarcusRediker:

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New Play, “The Return of Benjamin Lay”

"The Return of Benjamin Lay," a play by Marcus Rediker, promotional graphic"The Return of Benjamin Lay," a play by Marcus Rediker, promotional graphic

Written by Marcus Rediker and Naomi Wallace, world premiere at the Finborough Theatre, London, June 13–July 8, 2023

Featuring acclaimed American actor Mark Povinelli and directed by RSC Honorary Associate Director Ron Daniels, “The Return of Benjamin Lay” sweeps across the centuries in a bold exploration of an utterly impossible man.


Ghosts of Amistad Film Website

Screen shot of the Ghosts of Amistad documentary website
Ghosts of Amistad Film now FREE
Full-length film online in English with subtitled versions in French, Italian and Spanish

Ghosts of Amistad chronicles a trip to Sierra Leone to visit the home villages of the people who seized the slave schooner Amistad in 1839, to interview elders about local memory of the case, and to search for the long-lost ruins of Lomboko, the slave trading factory where their cruel transatlantic voyage began. The documentary film’s new website includes numerous resources, including study guides, to support educators around this topic.

Visit Site Study Guides

Ghosts of Amistad award laurels