Cover Image: Surviving Southampton

Surviving Southampton

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Member Reviews

I think this book is relevant for those interested in USA History. I never heard about this revolution before, as a non-American and someone who also did not pursue history/humanities. So, for me, everything was new, but from other reviews, i can gather that this is new also for people from the US / who know about this piece of History, because this book talks about the perspective of children, women and free Black people in this revolution - what they lived before, during and after. 
The Southampton Revolution started August 21st 1831, so we’re right now on its 190th anniversary.
This is quite an academic text, but understandable to non-academics, although it remains a very dense read and slow-paced.
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Surviving Southampton is an amazing account of 
the Nat Turner Revolt or the Southampton rebellion of 1831 and the enslaved women & children 
that was affected. I of course like most kids had heard of tbs revolt in school and like most history, especially black  history the whole story wasn't taught. 
Living near Southampton Virginia, when I saw thus book has an option on Net galley I was so happy to approved to read and review. Vanessa M. Holden had done a wonderful job exploring the history of the role if the black women during and after the revolt. Black women's role in was crucial to the changes that took place and how those have effected the black community today, the revolt affected men, women and children alike. 
The story was not long, but was well researched and I'd recommend to anyone interested in history of the area, teaching children of history, especially black history, black women's history.
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This book provides some background, and attempts to view the events of the Southampton Rebellion (or Nat Turner's Rebellion) with a wider lens; acknowledging the contributions and hardships of the African American woman and children that participated in, and suffered the consequences of the rebellion. The book is fairly short, but contains quite a bit of interesting information from various sources.

There are five main chapters. Chapter 1 describes the systems of control and surveillance that slave owners and officials used to monitor the enslaved community, and describes the environment of the region. Chapter 2 focus on the enslaved African American women; the work they typically performed, and their roles in the community. Chapter 3 discusses the actions of free people of color in the area; African Americans that were not enslaved, but generally lived alongside enslaved people. Chapter 4 explains the roles of children, and what life was like for young enslaved and free African Americans. Chapter 5 describes the aftermath of the rebellion, discusses records from the trials that followed, and the lasting effects on the community.

This is not a very long book, but it still took me a while to read. The writing is very formal and textbook-like, and the subject matter is obviously very serious and disturbing. At times I was a little thrown off by the organization, or the order in which information was presented, but overall there was much to learn and absorb. Hearing accounts and reading records from that time was painful, but a good reminder of what life was like less than 200 years ago. I appreciate the author's contributions, as it is important to acknowledge history, and the struggles all enslaved people went through.
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I pride myself on knowing a lot of Black History. I'm familiar with Nat Turner's slave rebellion, along with many other slave rebellions. However, like many other historical events, I never learned about the women and children who were involved. I never would have even considered their perspectives. Holden opens the text with a story that provokes the reader to think about the perspective that history is often told (or maybe it's just me). The book takes you through the geographical history of Southampton, along with the impact of the rebellion during and afterwards. It also focuses on gender roles on plantations and some of the differences in the labor of free women, enslaved women, and white women. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to adding it to my classroom.
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With a dynamic cover and bold subject matter, Vanessa M. Holden explores the role of Black women during and after Nat Turner's Revolt. The aftermath of Nat Turner's actions effected enslaved and free Black men, women and children alike; changing the dynamics of survival in Southampton Virginia (and the South) forever. The crucial role of Black women and how some aided, testified, resented and rejoiced the rebellion is examined. A well researched and brief book that has a few repetitive moments is a small price to pay for the knowledge gained. A gift to researchers and casual readers alike. I recommend this to any lover and student of Black history and/or women's studies.


Many thanks to the University of Illinois Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The author did agreat job in giving her perspective on the roles that were very vital to the revolt. I have never read or heard anything about the women and children until now. This read provided details and the parts of history that we don't get unless we dig a little further in. It was a great read with many jewels.
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This book is absolutely amazing.

The amount of footnotes and references in this book is absolutely amazing and they could lead any researcher down a rabbit hole for weeks. There are some really interesting books mentioned here that I'm glad to have found, I might look into them when I get the chance.

The daily lives of enslaved people are shown very candidly and this book really humanized all of the names that I had grown up hearing in school. Nat Turner's descendants having quotes in this book was super cool. 

I really enjoyed this nonfiction and anyone who's interested in American history will too.
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I've been getting into a lot of non-fiction stuff lately. This book instantly caught my eye because I never read anything on the subject before and seemed like a decent sized read. I was very pleased with the way the different dynamics and strategies of resistance are explained and explored, it made for a very interesting perspective that I was not expecting. 
It can get a bit repetitive sometimes since we get a lot of perspectives about the same events but it was very informative and well structured. Would recommend to anyone looking to know a bit more about the time period and context of the rebellion.
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Normally I don't really read non fiction but this one caught my attention and I was pleased by how fast I devoured it...I got familiar with a story I haven't heard before and my heart was clenching the entire time reading it..the four stars was because I kept missing parts at some points and turning back
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This book is a gift to historians and researchers in general whose specialty is the lives of enslaved people in the American South. About a quarter of the book is dedicated to notes and footnotes that would enable anyone to follow up on any references in this book.  The focus is on Southampton county in Virginia which was the area where Nat Turner's rebellion took place.  The author gives an intricate description of the daily life of the enslaved and free Black people in the area, even going into detail as to specific farms.  She covers everything about the buildings and social structure for all the significant farms in the area and identifies as many individuals as possible.  This level of detail is wonderful for readers, as said above, who need or want a high level of detail but it is probably not what the general reader would enjoy if interested in Slave Rebellions.  The author is careful to keep the tone "facts only" and the reader is left to have emotional reactions to events and situations described in the book.  This book focuses primarily on the roles of women and children who lived on these farms and who participated in the resistance to slavery but not usually by the outright physical/violent means used by men.  The crucial role of women is clearly delineated, and the author makes clear the role they played in any success achieved by enslaved people in Southampton who were committed to rebellion.
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Amazing story. I heard about the rebellion in grade school and then later in college,but never with so much detail. Interesting read about slave rebellion in American.
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I am familiar with the area and the topic but I had not consider the impact of the rebellion on women and particularly children, as well as the imprint that was left in the area afterwards. Initially, I though this would be a retelling of the rebellion with Nat Turner as the central focus. Instead, this was a very detail discussion of the Southamption area of Virginia, and the many ways that enslaved and free blacks actively resisted the ails of slavery. The book demonstrates that a lot of research went into drafting these discussion but some parts read more as a textbook and it was hard to connect to the people and history described.
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Before I read this book, I had NO IDEA about the women and children who are part of the picture surrounding what I knew only to be Nat Turner's rebellion. I knew in theory that they were there, but Holden's book makes so clear their contributions and the importance of their presence
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Before I read this book, I had NO IDEA about the women and children who are part of the picture surrounding what I knew only to be Nat Turner's rebellion. I knew in theory that they were there, but Holden's book makes so clear their contributions and the importance of their presence.
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Surviving Southampton is an insightful read. Holden expands the research of the Nat Turner Revolt to include the roles enslaved women and children played. She proffers a scholarly examination of the economics and social make up of the region and the aftermath. Two revelations I was not aware is that half of the victims in the rebellion were children and Nat Turner had children. I pored over the notes and bibliography carefully to glean even more avenues to read and explore. It’s a brief book, but one that offers valuable information during a volatile period in American history.
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3.5 stars rounded up

Tragic and really very interesting. I had no knowledge of the Southampton Rebellion before reading this book, so I certainly learned a lot. I do believe however, even those with knowledge could gain a lot from this book, as the author has access to archives and original documents - which is just fascinating.

I was especially moved by the stories of Ester and the youth Moses. They both showed true heart and courage, even at the risk of their own peril. They chose to do what was right and what was compassionate and just. I found their stories particularly sad but heartwarming.

The only thing I would like to say is - if you know the word Nottoway is offensive to the Cheroenhaka, why then go on to still include it? Unless all the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) are to be edited out in the final copy..

*Thank you to the University of Illinois Press, the author and NetGalley for granting me a free e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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