A groundbreaking history demonstrating that America's economic supremacy was built on the backs of slaves
Winner of the 2015 Avery O. Craven Prize from the Organization of American Historians
Winner of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize
Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institutionthe nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward E. Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, 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.
Bloomberg View Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2014
Daily Beast Best Nonfiction Books of 2014
|Edition description:||First Trade Paper Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.70(d)|
About the Author
Edward E. Baptist is an associate professor of history at Cornell University. Author of the award-winning Creating an Old South, he lives in Ithaca, New York.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Heart, 1937
3. Right Hand
4. Left Hand
11. Afterword: The Corpse
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Half Has Never Been Told is one of the most astonishing revalations of how American Capitalism came about, grew and, as a result, afforded the institution of racism to florish and use its evil ways to advance a wicked society. A provocative and insightful read.
This is an important book. It looks bluntly at new research regarding the economics of slavery and comes to conclusions that are in stark contrast to the various forms of apologetics that have crept into most historical narratives, liberal and conservative. It makes it clear that we have only begun to come to grips with the role of slavery and racism in US history.
The author, Edward Baptist, has written a compelling argument which proves that the foundation of American Capitalism is inseparable from the institution of slavery which fueled and shaped it.
This is a very readable account, which focuses heavily on the Mississippi basin, as opposed to Virginia/NC. It was a nice complement to River of Dark Dreams, which covers much of the same ground. I particularly liked Baptist's explanation of money and banking, and how the country functioned without a national bank, Federal Reserve, or national currency. His description of the panic of 1837 was particularly illuminating.
This was one of my favorite books of 2014 - although it is "scholarly" it reads like an old-fashioned page turning novel. I could not put it down and have recommended it to many fellow readers. I hope that the author will tackle additional topics as his writing skills are strong - he conveys facts effortlessly while keeping the big-picture ever present.