Saturday, January 29, 2011

Daniel Rasmussen's "American Uprising"

Daniel Rasmussen graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University in 2009, winning the Kathryn Ann Huggins Prize, the Perry Miller Prize, and the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt, and reported the following:
Page 99 of American Uprising finds Charles Deslondes – a slave driver turned revolutionary – leading the attack that would start the largest slave revolt in American history. The son of a white father and enslaved mother, Charles had risen to the top of the slave hierarchy; he was responsible for punishing the other slaves, organizing the work of sugar planting, and serving as his master Manuel Andry’s right hand man. But Charles used his privileged status not to promote the institution of slavery, but to destroy it. He was, in modern terminology, the ultimate sleeper cell. But let’s enter in medias res:
With Charles leading the way, the slaves entered the brick-walled storage basement and made their way towards the wooden double-staircase that led upstairs to the quarters where Manuel and Gilbert Andry slept.

As the slaves stormed onto the second floor landing, Manuel Andry woke to the sight of dark forms penetrating his bedroom and the clatter of bare feet on hardwood floors. As his eyes snapped open and his brain awoke with a fright, Andry caught a glimpse of Charles Deslondes, a new look on his face, ordering his fellow slaves towards Andry with an axe. One can only imagine Andry’s reaction, in the fog and panic of those first instants of awareness, to seeing Charles, his most loyal driver, his reliable assistant for over a decade, the man he had trusted to manage his plantation, now turned betrayer and potential murderer.

His mind clouded by fear and anger, Andry’s eyes fixed on Charles’ axe, a plantation tool transmuted into an icon of violent insurrection.
Learn more about American Uprising and its author at Daniel Rasmussen's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue