In Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade by Manu Herbstein, explores one of the most significant and difficult eras in human history, when blacks from Africa were traded like material goods for profit. Black men and women of that period were likened to livestock and were not considered worthy of being treated as human beings should be. Herbstein delves into this arduous subject to reveal the horrific conditions of Africans’ enslavement.
Herbstein’s story focuses on a Bekpokpam girl named Nandzi and her experience of enslavement. The author describes in great detail what Nandzi endured while under the bondage of slavery and how she came to be known as Ama. Herbstein’s story does more than focus on the Atlantic Slave Trade, but sheds great light on the internal slavery that existed among different ethnic groups during that time period.
The book would appeal to history buffs or anyone with an affinity to study the origins, background, and history of slavery in all its forms. Herbstein’s work reveals much about the macabre traditions of that era such as beheadings as a ritual of sorts upon the death of a king. The author speaks of the gruesome rapes and abuse of women to put into perspective the ongoing torture Ama endured at the hands of her captors. Herbstein’s story is not only eye-opening but gives a compelling look inside the dark world of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Ama’s treatment could be a metaphorical comparison to the unethical treatment of women and Africa in general. The book’s graphic details demonstrate how far we have come in progressing forward. While women are still considered subordinate, mistreatment of an inhumane nature does not exist to the same magnitude today. However, there are countries that still treat women in a very similar manner. Slavery still exists and heinous things still occur. As a whole the book was very instrumental in providing a new and more in-depth perspective in just prevalent an issue slavery was and why it had such historical implications.