Historian Edward E. Baptist reveals that the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history.
Groundbreaking look at slaves as commodities through every phase of life, from birth to death and beyond, in early America. In life and in death, slaves were commodities, their monetary value assigned based on their age, gender, health, and the demands of the market. The Price for Their Pound of Flesh is the first book to explore the economic value of enslaved people through every phase of their lives-including preconception, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, the senior years, and death-in the early American domestic slave trade. Writing with sensitivity and depth, the author resurrects the voices of the enslaved and provides a rare window into enslaved peoples' experiences and thoughts, revealing how enslaved people recalled and responded to being appraised, bartered, and sold throughout the course of their lives. A profoundly humane look at an inhumane institution, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh will have a major impact how we think about slavery, reparations, capitalism, nineteenth-century medical education, and the value of life and death.
". . . no American can be pleased with the treatment of Negro Americans, North and South, in the years before the Civil War. In his clear, lucid account of the Northern phase of the story Professor Litwack has performed a notable service."--John Hope Franklin, Journal of Negro Education "For a searching examination of the North Star Legend we are indebted to Leon F. Litwack. . . ."--C. Vann Woodward, The American Scholar
This "masterful treatment of one of the most complex periods of American history" (New Republic) made history when it was originally published in 1988. It redefined how Reconstruction was viewed by historians and people everywhere in its chronicling of how Americans -- black and white -- responded to the unprecedented changes unleashed by the war and the end of slavery. This "smart book of enormous strengths" (Boston Globe) has since gone on to become the classic work on the wrenching post-Civil War period -- an era whose legacy reverberates still today in the United States.