The Invention of the White Race: Racial Oppression and Social Control / The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America

Overview

The complete two-volume set of the groundbreaking analysis of the birth of racism in America.

When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no “white” people there. Nor, according to colonial records, would there be for another sixty years. In this seminal two-volume work, The Invention of the White Race, Theodore W. Allen tells the story of how America’s ruling classes created the category of the “white race” as a means of social control. Since that early ...

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Overview

The complete two-volume set of the groundbreaking analysis of the birth of racism in America.

When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no “white” people there. Nor, according to colonial records, would there be for another sixty years. In this seminal two-volume work, The Invention of the White Race, Theodore W. Allen tells the story of how America’s ruling classes created the category of the “white race” as a means of social control. Since that early invention, white privileges have enforced the myth of racial superiority, and that fact has been central to maintaining ruling-class domination over ordinary working people of all colors throughout American history.

Since publication in the mid-nineties, The Invention of the White Race has become indispensable in debates on the origins of racial oppression in America. Volume One utilizes Irish history to show the relativity of race and racial oppression as a form of social control. Volume Two details the development of racial oppression and racial slavery in colonial Virginia and, more broadly, Anglo-America. In this updated edition, scholar Jeffrey B. Perry provides a new introduction, a short biography of the author, a select bibliography and a study guide.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
“A powerful and polemical study.”
David Roediger
“A monumental study of the birth of racism in the American South which makes truly new and convincing points about one of the most critical problems in US history … a highly original and seminal work.”
Times Higher Education Supplement
“A real tour de force, a welcome return to empiricism in the subfield of race studies, and a timely reintroduction of class into the discourse on American exceptionalism.”
Choice
“A richly researched and highly suggestive analysis … Indispensable for readers interested in the disposition of power in Ireland, in the genesis of racial oppression in the U.S., or in the fluidity of ‘race’ and the historic vicissitudes of ‘whiteness.’”
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
“A must read for all social justice activists, teachers, and scholars.”
Bill Fletcher Jr.
“Allen transforms the reader’s understanding of race and racial oppression from what mainstream history often portrays as an unfortunate sideshow in U.S. history, to a central feature in the construction of U.S. (and indeed global) capitalism. Allen destroys any notion that ‘race’ is a biological category but instead locates it in the realm of a construction aimed at oppression and social control. This is more than a look at history; it is a foundation for a path toward social justice.”
Noel Ignatiev
“Decades before people made careers ‘undoing racism,’ Ted Allen was working on this trailblazing study, which has become required reading.”
Tim Wise
“As magisterial and comprehensive as the day it was first published, Theodore Allen’s The Invention of the White Race continues to set the intellectual, analytical and rhetorical standard when it comes to understanding the real roots of white supremacy, its intrinsic connection to the class system, and the way in which persons committed to justice and equity might move society to a different reality.”
Joe Berry
“One of the most important books of U.S. history ever written. It illuminates the origins of the largest single obstacle to progressive change and working-class power in the U.S.: racism and white supremacy.”
Tami Gold
“A must read for educators, scholars and social change activists – now more than ever! Ted Allen’s writings illuminate the centrality of how white supremacy continues to work in maintaining a powerless American working class.”
Gerald Horne
“Few books are capable of carrying the profound weight of being deemed to be a classic – this is surely one. Indeed, if one has to read one book to provide a foundation for understanding the contemporary U.S. – read this one.”
Gregory Meyerson
“The most important book on the origin of racism in what was to become the United States – and more important now perhaps than when it was first released in the mid nineties.”
Audrey Smedley
The Invention of the White Race is an important work for its meticulously researched materials and its insights into colonial history. Its themes and perspectives should be made available to all scholars … A classic without which no future American history will be written.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844677719
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 11/20/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition, Two-book shrinkwrapped set
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 758
  • Sales rank: 587,857
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Theodore W. Allen was an independent scholar, coalminer, mailhandler, engineering draftsman, teacher and librarian.

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