"A superb re-examination of one of the 19th century’s pivotal political, social, cultural movements."
Professor Richard Blackett, Vanderbilt University
"An impressively researched book which makes a sophisticated argument about how abolitionists forged a transatlantic constituency and ultimately toppled slavery from its powerful position in the British Caribbean and the United States."
Michael E. Woods, Associate Professor, Marshall University
The Ties that Bind explores in depth the close affinities that bound together anti-slavery activists in Britain and the USA during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, years that witnessed the overthrow of slavery in both the British Caribbean and the American South. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, the book sheds important new light on the dynamics of abolitionist opinion building during the Age of Reform, from books and artefacts to anti-slavery songs, lectures and placards. Building an anti-slavery public required patience and perseverance. It also involved an engagement with politics, even if anti-slavery activists disagreed about what form that engagement should take. This is a book about the importance of transatlantic co-operation and the transmission of ideas and practices. Yet, at the same time, it is also alert to the tensions that underlay these ‘Atlantic affinities’, particularly when it came to what was sometimes perceived as the increasing Americanization of anti-slavery protest culture. Above all, The Ties that Bind stresses the importance of personality, perhaps best exemplified in the enduring transatlantic friendship between George Thompson and William Lloyd Garrison.
‘J. R. Oldfield’s The Ties That Bind: Transatlantic Abolitionism in the Age of Reform, c. 1820–1865 is a welcome addition to the substantial canon of antislavery studies produced in the last several decades.’
Dee E. Andrews, Journal of British Studies