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A celebrated revolution brought freedom to a group of enslaved people in northern India. Or did it?
Millions of people today are still enslaved; nearly eight million of them live in India, more than anywhere else. This book is the story of a small group of enslaved villagers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh who founded their own town of Azad Nagar--Freedomville--after staging a rebellion against their slaveholders. International organizations championed it as a non-violent silent revolution that inspired other villagers to fight for their own freedom. But Laura T. Murphy, a leading scholar of contemporary global slavery who spent years researching and teaching about Freedomville, found that there was something troubling about Azad Nagar's success.
Murphy embarks on a Rashomon-like retelling--a complex, constantly changing narrative of a murder that captures better than any sanitized account just why it is that slavery continues to exist in the twenty-first century. Freedomville's enormous struggle to gain and maintain liberty shows us how realistic it is to expect radical change without violent protest--and how a global construction boom is deepening and broadening the alienation of impoverished people around the world.