The dramatic story of the slave ship Neirsee springs vividly to life in Rafe Blaufarb's graphic mircohistory, Inhuman Traffic. The story, set in the early nineteenth century, moves from the slave port of Old Calabar to the Caribbean and to the courts of Britain and France where the history of the illegal slave trade, slavery in the Caribbean, and diplomatic history all come into focus as Blaufarb follows the ship, its crew, and its captives. Students will be taken in by the vivid drawings and the rich narrative, but they will also find themselves immersed in an unusual learning experience. Blaufarb not only presents the history of the ship and captives, he takes the reader inside the project itself. He explains how he came upon the story, how he and his editor envisioned the project, and how he worked with the illustrator Liz Clarke to craft the 350 "cells" that compose the book. He and Clarke even take the reader inside archives in Britain and France which are themselves illustrated and their histories explained.
Like all the best examples of the genre, Inhuman Traffic tells a compelling story through a complex interplay of image and text - it will keep students reading, and learning, to the very end.