Finally, I completed this almost 500 pg. nonfiction book written by a Yale professor and historian about the journey of a French slave ship to Africa to Martinique and back to France. I found the first 200 pages excrutiating due to the details of the history of France and Europe as well as the geneology of individuals involved in outfitting the slave ship for its voyage to Africa for its human cargo. (I think it would have made this book far easier for readers if some of the background history had been paraphrased. Sometimes Mr. Harms was telling exactly who was doing what at a certain time complete with a weather report!) I found it fascinating, at last, when around page 200+, we arrived in Africa and learned the details of what the French, Portuguese, English, and Dutch did to barter for slaves from the African Kings who were given European goods (guns, gunpowder, beads, alcohol, etc.) as well as ten percent of the human cargo. Sometimes the Europeans induced the African to declare war on each other with tens of thousands fighting--because in the end prisoners of war were sold by the tribes to the Europeans. It usually took months of manipulations and squabbles and wars before deals were settled. Most captains of slave ships did not keep detailed logs other than the number of slaves purchased and how many died during the Middle Passage (the leg of the journey from Africa to the Americas). Each country involved in the slave trade had laws to obey, and each ship was run differently according to the captains and crews. First Lieutenant Robert Durand of the Diligent, however, took more detailed notes, so we know what it was like on a 1731 French slave ship. I recommend this book for everyone studying history of the 1700's, especially the slave trade, though the author included a lot of very dry superfluous details! I suggest you skip over the stuff that doesn't interest you, and read the stuff that does. After the Diligent arrives in Martinique, the author gives detailed information about sugar processing of the 1700's that would be difficult to find elsewhere. For good photos and more information about the slave trade to the Americas, go to the Middlepassagemuseum.org. I also recommend novels by K.J. McWilliams: The Journal of Darien Dexter Duff, The Diary of a Slave Girl, Ruby Jo, and The Journal of Leroy Jeremiah Jones as well as slave narratives written by slaves such as Frederick Douglass, Ellen & William Craft, etc.