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Publisher's Summary

In The Half Has Never Been Told, historian Edward E. Baptist reveals the alarming extent to which slavery shaped our country politically, morally, and most of all, economically. Until the Civil War, our chief form of innovation was slavery. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from their slaves, giving the country a virtual monopoly on the production of cotton, a key raw material of the Industrial Revolution.
As Baptist argues, this frenzy of speculation and economic expansion transformed the United States into a modern capitalist nation. Based on thousands of slave narratives and plantation records, The Half Has Never Been Told offers not only a radical revision of the history of slavery but a disturbing new understanding of the origins of American power that compels listeners to reckon with the violence and subjugation at the root of American supremacy.
©2014 Edward E. Baptist (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By M. Hoffman on 03-08-15

Masterful combo of economics, history, and prose

This is a remarkable book!! Baptist weaves individual slaves' stories into an exposition of the economics driving slavery's expansion. He makes a powerful argument that slavery was pivotal in the development of US and world capital, and was actually accelerating at the time of the Civil war.

The us of accounts by specific enslaved people helps to illustrate larger structural changes in slavery's development but helps you understand the toll these played on people's lives. It also helps to understand various cultural developments and slavery,s lasting legacy.

I wish I had read this in college! It would have made the civil war make much more sense.

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful


By Meliannos on 03-20-15

The history we were never taught

This book should have been written 150 years ago and taught in schools instead of the gloss on slavery still being studied in American classrooms. It is the story of slavery as the engine of the great American economy, the story of profit as generated by systematized kidnapping, torture, murder, and oppression. It is a compelling combination of personal narratives, economic analysis, and political development. And it's true: what I thought I knew about the Civil War and its causes was only half of the telling.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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