Them Dark Days: Slavery in the American Rice Swamps / Edition 1

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In this groundbreaking book, Dusinberre conducts an intense investigation of slavery in the rice swamps of South Carolina and Georgia. Concentrated there were some of the richest—and most expansive—plantations of the South. It was an unhealthy region for both blacks and whites; slavery, in the swamps, was administered with particular severity. Focusing on three of the largest plantations, Dusinberre presents portraits of individuals, both black and white, who personify and exemplify the harsh realities of the slave system. Them Dark Days offers a vivid reconstruction of slavery in action; while it conveys the atmosphere and daily routine of the plantations, it also sets the analysis of slave culture within a wider context of health, discipline, privilege, and psychology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"William Dusinberre has restored a tragic dimension to slave studies, and has done so with a thoroughness and persuasiveness that no future student of slavery will be able to ignore."—The Journal of Southwest Georgia History

"There is no other book quite like Them Dark Days....His scholarship is awesome. Dusinberre has a great deal to say that is fresh and exciting about slavery, and his writing style is always clear and often eloquent....I found Them Dark Days both stimulating and enjoyable."—Charles Joyner, University of South Carolina, Coastal Carolina College

"The book provides a wealth of information on the antebellum lowcountry rice industry and the families that dominated it."—Agricultural History, University of Maryland, College Park "Dusinberre certainly knows how to tell a good story. And if some of his material proves to be familiar to lowcountry scholars, these specialists will nevertheless appreciate his detective work in piecing together a coherent, moving account of the complex negotiations and struggles between tidewater slaves and their masters."—The Journal of Southern History

"[The author's] book is an important corrective to recent scholarship and adds new meaning to the neo-abolitionist interpretation."—ISTORY

"...[A] vast and multifaceted new interpretation of slavery. Among his most impressive achievements is that he draws from these all-too-familiar sources so much that is fresh, provocative, and fully worthy of our attention."—American Historical Review

Eugene D. Genovese
In Them Dark Days, William Dusinberre, a superior historical craftsman, provides a deeply researched, acutely analyzed, powerfully written study of the antebellum plantations on the rice coast that should take its place among our most significant studies of Southern slavery....There are pages throughout this book that rank among the most eloquent indictments of slavery ever penned by an historian....Whatever the weaknesses of this impressive, indeed powerful book, it deserves widespread reading and careful discussion. Them Dark Days will, I believe, take its place among the most important studies of Southern slavery we have and are likely to get. -- African American Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195090215
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 576
  • Lexile: 1450L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.71 (d)

Meet the Author

William Dusinberre is Reader Emeritus in American History at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Henry Adams: The Myth of Failure and Civil War Issues in Philadelphia, 1856-1865.

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Table of Contents

1 Gentleman Capitalists 3
2 Manigaults and Heywards 28
3 The Charnel House 48
4 Unhappy Families 84
5 Dissidence 122
6 Privilege 178
7 Frances Kemble 213
8 Mothers and Children 235
9 Degradation 248
10 Morale 265
11 The Capitalist as Rice Planter 285
12 Coercion 302
13 Privileged Slaves 319
14 White Supremacy and Paternalist Theory 350
15 The Rice Kingdom 387
16 Retrospect 417
17 Slavery 429
Appendixes 437
Notes 463
Index 541
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