Bernard Bailyn: The Best Books on Atlantic History

Over at The Browser, Bailyn introduces us to Atlantic History by recommending five books on the subject. He picks two of his own books, but we will give him a pass since he is, after all, Bernard Bailyn.

Bernard Bailyn, Atlantic History: Concept and Contours

Jill Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492-1830.

David Eltis and David Richardson, Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

David Armitage and Michael Braddick, ed., The British Atlantic World: 1500-1800.

Bernard Bailyn, ed., Soundings in Atlantic History: Latent Structures and Intellectual Currents, 1500-1830.

Graduate students:  Are you writing these down?

3 thoughts on “Bernard Bailyn: The Best Books on Atlantic History

  1. Yeah, there's a growing body of really fantastic research on the French Atlantic. I took a grad seminar a couple of years ago on the subject (syllabus available here). Since then, there's been even more published, including the professor of that seminar's book (Brett Rushforth, Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France). What the historiography of the French Atlantic lacks is the sort of definitive survey history that Bailyn highlights here about the British Atlantic. Luckily, Rushforth and Chris Hodson are currently at work co-authoring such a book.


  2. Thanks for the post Chris. I wish I could say I have read them all. I can't think of names and titles off the top of my head, but I do think that there is some stuff on the 17th century French Atlantic. If I get the time I will try to dig up the references.


  3. This is a good list, and I read each in preparation for comprehensive exams (some for a second time). All were very helpful, and I especially like Eltis and Richardson's Atlas, which is a fantastic resource for research and for teaching (it breaks down the transatlantic slave trade database into very digestible graphs, tables, and figures).

    I understand that Bailyn studies the British Atlantic primarily (as do I), and that for that reason his list naturally emphasizes it, but I would've liked to see more books on non-anglo (and non-European) Atlantic histories. The absence of anything explicitly on the French Atlantic seems and especially regrettable omission.


Comments are closed.