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Groundbreaking look at slaves as commodities through every phase of life, from birth to death and beyond, in early America
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 from before birth to after death—in the American domestic slave trades. Covering the full “life cycle” (including preconception, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, the senior years, and death), historian Daina Berry shows the lengths to which slaveholders would go to maximize profits. She draws from over ten years of research to explore how enslaved people responded to being appraised, bartered, and sold. By illuminating their lives, Berry ensures that the individuals she studies are regarded as people, not merely commodities. Analyzing the depth of this monetization of human property will change the way we think about slavery, reparations, capitalism, and nineteenth-century medical education.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Table of ContentsAuthor’s Note
List of Images
The Value of Life and Death
Preconception: Women and Future Increase
Infancy and Childhood
Adolescence, Young Adulthood, and Soul Values
Midlife and Older Adulthood
Elderly and Superannuated
Postmortem: Death and Ghost Values
The Afterlives of Slavery
Appendix: A Timeline of Slavery, Medical History, and Black Bodies
Note on Sources: A History of People and Corpses
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Berry provides a well-researched and comprehensive work on this critical yet largely previously untouched aspect of the economics of American slavery. The author’s discussion of soul value, or the enslaved’s perception of morality and self-value, and ghost value, the value of the enslaved body postmortem, make this work a uniquely new body of knowledge in the discipline. My personal interests in higher education and economics make the university and medical college connection to the economics of postmortem body trading and dissection fascinating. Berry’s work sheds more light on the dark history of American higher education, which is been a contemporary topic of heated discussion. As expected, the book is filled with heroes, victims, villains, and enablers. The reader comes away with a better understanding of the economics of the enslaved, from birth to postmortem. As America continues to evolve from its history of slavery, this work takes us one step further in better understanding the past—including the economics behind atrocities.