The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism

REVIEWS, 5 Mar 2018

Monthly Review Press – TRANSCEND Media Service

The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in Seventeenth-Century North America and the Caribbean by Gerald Horne

“Gerald Horne strengthens his stature as one of our leading global historians with this ambitious and engaging book. Taking settler colonialism seriously as central to the development of whiteness, he brilliantly situates changes in that tiny part of the 17th century world in what would become the U.S. within far wider worlds of increasingly racialized commodities and cruelties.”

David Roedgier, author, Class, Race, And Marxism

“Gerald Horne returns to the scene of the crimes that birthed the modern world. With cinematic flair, he takes us through what at first may appear to be familiar terrain—slavery, dispossession, settler colonialism, the origins of capitalism—but by extending his analytical lens to the entire globe, he delivers a fresh interpretation of the 17th century.”

Robin D. G. Kelley, author, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

“Essential reading for those who wish to comprehend how the past led to the violence of the present order, and how best to plot an alternate trajectory.”

Joy James, author, Seeking the Beloved Community: A Feminist Race Reader

“A must-read for all wishing to understand the historical roots of race oppression in the U.S. today.”

Akinyele Umoja, author, We Will Shoot Back

“Gerald Horne has done it again. Horne’s erudite look at this seventeenth-century apocalypse brings together the hemispheric struggles of Black and Indigenous peoples for reparations. He shows that transnational solidarity is the greatest foe of settler colonial domination.”

Dan Berger, author,  Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era

Virtually no part of the modern United States can be understood without first understanding the slavery and dispossession that laid its foundation. To that end, historian Gerald Horne digs deeply into Europe’s colonization of Africa and the New World, when, from Columbus’s arrival until the Civil War, some thirteen million Africans and some five million Native Americans were forced to build and cultivate a society extolling “liberty and justice for all.” The seventeenth century was, according to Horne, an era when the roots of slavery, white supremacy, and capitalism became inextricably tangled into a complex history involving war and revolts in Europe, England’s conquest of the Scots and Irish, the development of formidable new weaponry able to ensure Europe’s colonial dominance, the rebel merchants of North America who created “these United States,” and the hordes of Europeans whose newfound opportunities in this “free” land amounted to “combat pay” for their efforts as “white” settlers.

Centering his book on the Eastern Seaboard of North America, the Caribbean, Africa, and what is now Great Britain, Horne provides a deeply researched, harrowing account of the apocalyptic loss and misery that likely has no parallel in human history. This is an essential book that will not allow history to be told by the victors.


Gerald Horne is John J. and Rebecca Moores Professor of African American History at the University of Houston. A prolific scholar, he has published more than three dozen books, including Confronting Black Jacobins and Race to Revolution, both by Monthly Review Press.

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