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A Global History of Runaways

Workers, Mobility, and Capitalism, 1600–1850


“This remarkable collection of case studies extends the field of global migration history. Highly recommended.”—CHOICE

“A great read, drawing its strengths from a global comparative approach and well-researched empirical case studies. It will have a significant impact on research on coerced labourers around the world and their responses to their treatment.”—Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History

“Innovative in method and original in its findings, this is a well-written collection that hangs together stylistically, from start to finish.”—Rick Halpern, coauthor of Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid

“This highly original collection traverses a range of contexts that will appeal to readers interested in how working people resisted and subverted the demands of labor and capital across the early-modern world.”—Clare Anderson, editor of A Global History of Convicts and Penal Colonies and author of Subaltern Lives

“This superb and ambitious collection will prove to be a landmark work in advancing the field of global labor history.”—Julie Greene, author of The Canal Builders: Making America’s Empire at the Panama Canal

“A Global History of Runaways is a major contribution to a new global history from below. Empire and capital across the modern era sought to constrain people to work or fight in their interests. Kidnapped, pressed and enslaved men and women replied by seizing freedom with their feet and wits.”—Richard Drayton, Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at King’s College London

“Runaways were the individual escapees who did their part in the collective response of captive laborers, caught in the oppressive conditions of the colonies and plantations that were essential to creating the world economy. These chapters by skilled historians tell the individual tales of imagination and energy among the runaways, yet show the price paid by those caught in the tentacles of empire in its service to building capitalism.”—Patrick Manning, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of World History, Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh