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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
5 out of 5 stars
By Robert Fullerton on 01-04-15

The most definitive history of American slavery;

Where does The Half Has Never Been Told rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The essential companion to McPherson's Battle Cry Of Freedom in understanding the Civil War.

Who was your favorite character and why?

President Lincoln fought the war that destroyed slavery and advanced civilization based on personal merit, democratic institutions which became the human model of freedom and self-government for future ages in World History.

Have you listened to any of Ron Butler’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The shocking rape of black men by western slavers in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas for the sake of plantation production and control. The Caribbean slave rebellion in Haiti, which defeated both French and British soldiers, set up a concurrence of fear among white slavers and even common white farmers.

Any additional comments?

No current living American citizen, nor immigrant can understand the American Story from 1790's to today, without investigating the divergent North and South; social, political and economic lifestyle prior to the commencement of the Civil War, The new western slavers were growing America's chief export commodity, cotton. These new slavers, located in Texas, Louisiana Mississippi and Arkansas annually exported 13, or more, millions of cotton bales to mills in Great Britain and France. Even during hostilities, starved for cash, western slavers shipped cotton North, to mills in New England.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
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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22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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