|Blanchard, Peter. Under the flags of freedom: slave soldiers and the wars of independence in Spanish South America. Pittsburgh, 2008. 242p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780822943471, $60.00; ISBN 9780822959922 pbk, $26.95. Reviewed in 2009may CHOICE.
Slaves faced fundamental ironies and contradictions during the wars for independence in Latin America. They often had little reason to support either the Spanish Crown, which was ultimately behind their enslavement, or the Creole elites who were their masters. While patriots cast the war as one for liberty, they were more concerned with their property rights than freedom for their slaves. Slaves, on the other hand, often pledged support to the royalist cause in return for promises of freedom. Military service provided slaves with an avenue for social advancement and personal freedom. In response, Creoles began to support freedom for slaves as a pragmatic step in order to gain their support in the independence struggles. Creoles also came to see military service as a way to unload "defective merchandise." They increasingly requested compensation in return for freeing their slaves as the material destruction of the long war lowered the need for slave labor on their plantations. Economic self-interest rather than ideology drove these changes in policy. The war did not mean an end to slavery, but it did fundamentally change the face of slavery in Latin America. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. -- M. Becker, Truman State University