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Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as Andrés Reséndez illuminates in his myth-shattering The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. There was no abolitionist movement to protect the tens of thousands of natives who were kidnapped and enslaved by the conquistadors, then forced to descend into the "mouth of hell" of 18th-century silver mines or, later, made to serve as domestics for Mormon settlers and rich Anglos.
Reséndez builds the incisive case that it was mass slavery, more than epidemics, that decimated Indian populations across North America. New evidence, including testimonies of courageous priests, rapacious merchants, Indian captives, and Anglo colonists, sheds light too on Indian enslavement of other Indians - as what started as a European business passed into the hands of indigenous operators and spread like wildfire across vast tracts of the American Southwest.
The Other Slavery reveals nothing less than a key missing piece of American history. For over two centuries we have fought over, abolished, and tried to come to grips with African-American slavery. It is time for the West to confront an entirely separate, equally devastating enslavement we have long failed truly to see.
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By Buretto on 01-24-18
A little more Spanish-centered than expected
All things considered, an eye-opening presentation of atrocities that are not as well known as they should be. It was very interesting to learn about this history, but, to be fair, a large percentage of the book deals with Spanish colonization, more than English. This is not a judgment one way or the other regarding blame (and, as a listener, it probably should have been expected), but I don't think it was presented that clearly in the summary.
In addition, there are points at which the author seems to be oddly resentful of the attention paid to African slavery (at one point comparing the relative decimation of native civilizations to African ones, as if it were a competition of despair). I suppose this is somewhat understandable, considering the lack of notoriety for the topic of this book, and I took it as such.
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