From Homicide to Slavery: Studies in American Culture / Edition 1

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For more than twenty years David Brion Davis has been recognized as a leading authority on the moral and ideological responses to slavery in the Western world. From Homicide to Slavery, Davis's first book of collected essays, brings together selections reflecting his wide-ranging interests in colonial history, Afro-American history, the social sciences, and American literature. The essays are interconnected by Davis's central concern with violence, irrationality, and the definition of moral limits during a period when Americans believed they were breaking free from historical constraints and acquiring new powers of self-perfection. Topics range from a socially revealing murder trial in 1843 to debates over capital punishment, movements of counter-subversion, the iconography of race, the cowboy as an American hero, the portrayal of violence in American literature, the historiography of slavery, and the British and American antislavery movements.

"The outstanding historian of the dark underside of Western culture... ."--Journal of American History.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The outstanding historian of the dark underside of Western culture....Few historians have used such a breadth of sources or achieved such international vision....Even if his work were not of such substantive importance, this volume would deserve wide reading as a model of how history can and ought to be done."—The Historian

"Anything Mr. Davis has to say on this subject is worth reading."—The New York Times Book Review.

"One of the leading historians of our time....[The book] provides an impressive reminder that...Davis has produced a body of work that is remarkable for its range and its interdisciplinary concerns as well as for its depth and its sophistication."—Journal of American History

"Illustrates the extraordinary range of Davis's interests and his astonishing versatility as a scholar....[A] splendid volume of provocative essays."—Church History

"Having in a single volume Davis's work of more than thirty years...enables one easily to grasp Davis's range and his gifts as a historian, which are truly remarkable....These articles chart Davis's own intellectual journey from a consideration of violence in our national experience into the arena of conflicting loyalties through the space of the American West on to the position of slavery in the western world....This collection makes quite clear why David Brion Davis ranks as one of our most respected historians."—Georgia Historical Review

"Students of slavery and abolition will find much new material and many fresh insights....Davis has once again produced a valuable guide to a large subject and a large literature."—Slavery and Abolition

"[These essays] are rich in ideas, lean of prose, and the products of a first-rate mind."—Library Journal

"David Brion Davis...ranks among the most successful practitioners of sophisticated popular history. From Homicide to Slavery is a worthy testament to more than 20 years' study of America's cultural past....An eloquent union of social and scholarly commitments."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195054187
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/28/1988
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Table of Contents

I. Violence and Virility in American Culture
1. Murder in New Hampshire 3
2. The Movement To Abolish Capital Punishment in America, 1787-1861 17
3. Violence in American Literature 41
4. Stress-Seeking and the Self-Made Man in American Literature, 1894-1914 52
II. The Redeeming West
5. Ten-Gallon Hero 75
6. The Deerslayer, A Democratic Knight of the Wilderness: Cooper, 1841 90
7. Marlboro Country 104
8. Secrets of the Mormons 113
III. Problems of Loyalty and Identity
9. Patricide and Regicide 127
10. Some Themes of Counter-Subversion: An Analysis of Anti-Masonic, Anti-Catholic, and Anti-Mormon Literature 137
11. Some Ideological Functions of Prejudice in Ante-Bellum America 155
12. The American Family and Boundaries in Historical Perspective 166
IV. Studies in Slavery and Antislavery
13. Slavery, and the Post-World War II Historians 187
14. Of Human Bondage 207
15. Out of the Shadows 218
16. New Sidelights on Early Antislavery Radicalism 228
17. The Emergence of Immediatism in British and American Antislavery Thought 238
18. James Cropper and the British Anti-Slavery Movement
I 1821-23 258
II 1823-33 273
19. American Slavery and the American Revolution 290
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