This book puts psychological trauma at its centre. Using psychoanalysis, it assesses what was lost, how it was lost and how the loss is compulsively repeated over generations. There is a conceptualization of this trauma as circular. Such a situation makes it stubbornly persistent. It is suggested that central to the system of slavery was the separating out of procreation from maternity and paternity. This was achieved through the particular cruelties of separating couples at the first sign of loving interest in each other; and separating infants from their mothers. Cruelty disturbed the natural flow of events in the mind and disturbed the approach to and the resolution of the Oedipus Complex conflict. This is traced through the way a new kind of family developed in the Caribbean and elsewhere where slavery remained for hundreds of years.

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