Saul David

Tough on Crime…

A Merciless Place: The Lost Story of Britain’s Convict Disaster in Africa


Oxford University Press 432pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The story of British convicts sent as indentured servants to the American colonies in the eighteenth century is well known – as is the choice of Australia as the new destination for Britain’s unwanted criminals after Britain’s defeat in the American War of Independence. Less familiar, if not virtually unknown, is the subject of Emma Christopher’s fascinating new history: the ill-fated attempt to use the west coast of Africa to solve Britain’s convict problem during the short interval between the effective loss of the American colonies in the late 1770s and the departure of the first transports to Botany Bay in 1787.

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