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Hanging Of Angelique Paperback – Nov 28 2006

3.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (Nov. 28 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006392792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006392798
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

AFUA COOPER holds a Ph.D. in African Canadian history, with specialties in slavery and abolition. She is the co-author of ‘We’re Rooted Here and They Can’t Pull Us Up’: Essays in African Canadian Women’s History, which won the prestigious Joseph Brant Award for History. She is also one of Canada’s most versatile poets and has published five volumes of poetry, including the acclaimed Copper Woman. Dr. Cooper has taught history at the University of Toronto.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In April of 1734, a fire destroyed a large part of Montreal. Marie-Joseph Angelique, a Portuguese-born slave woman, was convicted of starting the fire and sentenced to die. In this book, Afua Cooper sheds light on the life of Angelique and the conditions under which slaves lived and died in colonial Canada.

If you think that Canada was never a slave society, if you think of Canada simply as the safe haven at the end of the Underground Railroad, you need to read this book. What made Canada the destination for escaped U.S. slaves was a law banning the importation of slaves - this law did not free a single slave, and Canada did not free its slaves until England forced us to. And while living conditions for Canadian slaves may have been better than those on big plantations in the American south, they were by no means pleasant.

While Angelique herself left no personal records behind, Dr. Cooper meticulously pieces together court records to paint a picture of the events leading up to the fire. Instead of exonerating Angelique, Dr. Cooper elucidates the reasons why she may have started the fire, if indeed she did.

"The Hanging of Angelique" is an important piece of Canadian history.
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Format: Paperback
This book gives a very well written account of what happened to this Montreal slave woman convicted of burning down Old Montreal. Knowledge of Canadian slavery had been virtually unknown and well hidden until this book appeared. It has led other historians to subsequent research into the actual court proceedings. I suspect there will be more slavery disclosures in the near future.
Although the author seems to take a particular slant in this true story, it is not by any means a difinitive opinion. It is fairly steadily paced and colourful enough to hold the attention of even reluctant readers, and leaves plenty of opportunity for discussion and debate.
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 9 2008
Format: Paperback
Cooper has assembled a vigorous and colorful history of black slavery as it affected the development North American society during its formative years of the 17th and 18th centuries. What she wants to do in this study is provide her reader with an accurate context by which to understand the life and times of Marie-Joseph Angelique, the slave woman accused and convicted of torching Old Montreal in 1723 and eventually executed for it. Evidence shows that while she was likely 'guilty' of arson, she likely did it out of a deep-seated need to get back at a very cruel owner. The capital punishment meted out to her for her crime was so terrible that it rivals that usually reserved for the Spanish Inquisition. Devoting only a small part of her book to the actual circumstances leading up to and including Angelique's tragic death, Cooper insteads probes three hundred years of history to determine how a black African slave of Portuguese descent ended up in Montreal in the midst of predominately Catholic-European society. As that answer emerges, Cooper builds a fairly credible picture of what the institution of slavery amounted to back then. Since slaves like Angelique were basically chattels to be used at the whim and fancy of the slaveholder, we can well imagine the many abuses and indignities these poor creatures had to suffer. In fact, records show that Angelique was constantly whipped for the smallest of infractions and insubordinations. As Cooper's research shows, the supposedly mild-mannered, backwater culture of British and French North America was not exempt from the practice of having and using slaves for commercial ventures such as mines and farms. The widely-held excuse for keeping such indentured labor was that workers were hard to find at an affordable price anywhere in the colonies. In total, Cooper has produced a very profound and informative review of one of those shameful chapters in Canadian history that often gets glossed over because of the lack of diligent research.
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Format: Paperback
This book is not a novel, it's a paper on the history of the time. Very little of the book is about Angelique.
If love reading history notations and cronological dates. You will love this book.
If you were looking for a story around the facts of the historical event. You will be really as disapointed as I was.
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Format: Hardcover
this is not a book of history. it is a book of historical speculation wherein cooper indulges her racist and disturbing "post colonial" fantasies of white murder through her main character


- she claims canada is racist because there is no statue of angelique in the very city, montreal, which she burnt to the ground. angelique was a terrorists, who destroyed the only church and hospital in the city and the homes of thousands of innocent hard working people, and cooper wants her to have a statue?

- she claims the canadian judicial system was biased against angelique, even though she agrees, ultimately, that angelique is guilty. cooper wants to have it both ways: she wants to paint angelique as the victim of a criminal injustice AND as a proactive and willing agent who struck a blow for all oppressed people with her defiant and violent revolutionary act. she wants angelique to be a blameless heroine, to better serve her agenda that all slave narratives are inherently about courageous blacks fighting injustice, when really this is about a cowardly liar who committed a sin just as bad as slavery. in order to justify her crime, cooper speculates about how hard life was for angelique (though all evidence points to the contrary)

- she also wants to paint HER angelique as an independent minded women who was beholded to none, and yet angelique was, ironically, completely dependent on a white man (her lover) for her escape and its planning, and she cowardly lied about the crime she committed.

- she claims angelique's lover cowardly "betrayed and abandoned her" when she was arrested for burning the town and faced execution himself (ie whitey got scared and ran away). but what was he supposed to do?
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