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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

Thanks @MarcusRediker for sharing this portrait of a market woman in Baltimore in 1858 by T. Waterman Wood while discussing market women as Underground Railroad collaborators & Freedom Ship: Escaping Slavery by Sea in Atlantic America before the Civil War.

If anyone wants a preview of the book I am finishing on escaping slavery by sea in 19c US, here’s a talk I gave at @elravignani, University of Buenos Aires, during my visit last month. The manuscript goes to my editor at @VikingBooks on June 28.

My publisher in Buenos Aires, @tinta_limon, brought out a new edition of *The Many-Headed Hydra* and invited me to speak about it. Here is the video, with comments about how Peter Linebaugh and I wrote the book and what it might mean for the present.

Ya se puede ver la charla completa con @MarcusRediker en la presentación de “La hidra de la revolución” en @cazonadeflores

🎤 Presentó @elprofeborda , entrevistó @posutopico, traducción a cargo de Paula Vasile

📹 Registro por Divagario

Second call: Conference on “The Many-Headed Hydra Twenty-Five Years Later” at the University of Pittsburgh, coming in May 2025. Call for Papers at the link below.

As #Juneteenth approaches, the #Slaveryarchive Digital Initiative celebrates the work of historian @MarcusRediker. His book The Slave Ship: A Human History is probably our favorite, but here we highlight his latest The Fearless Benjamin Lay

Hard to believe, but the Italian edition of *Villains of All Nations*, published by @ed_eleuthera, is heading into its fourth edition. Grateful to Andrea and all of the comrades at the press.

My blurb: This labor of love by Douglas S. Harvey vividly brings to life Herman Husband, one of the eighteenth century's most radical figures ... a visionary leader of insurgent commoners and a creative political thinker whose ideas have never, until now, been fully appreciated.

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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