The Half Has Never Been Told

By Edward E. Baptist,

Book cover of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

Book description

Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution,the 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…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked The Half Has Never Been Told as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

You can’t understand the role of labor in America unless you understand slavery, which set the original template for American labor exploitation that still echoes to this day.

This book is one of the best explorations of American slavery, its roots, and its integral connection to the capitalism that surrounds us all.

When you appreciate how long and completely slaves were oppressed and who got the gains of the work they did, you will develop a much sharper appreciation for the importance of maintaining worker power today.

From Hamilton's list on the power of the American labor movement.

This is a big story told through unearthed archives, newspapers, and interviews with politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves.

The Half Has Never Been Told offers first-hand accounts of American history. It invites readers to a reckoning with the violence at the root of American supremacy. I loved reading about the survival and resistance that brought about slavery’s end—and created a culture that speaks to America’s dreams of freedom.

After reading accounts of the previously silent “other half” of this history, I felt convinced that an integrated national understanding of what actually happened in the Civil War is an evolving development…

What psychologists like me and historians have in common is a deep understanding that the past matters.  Past events shape our perceptions of the present and our expectations for the future. To understand the contemporary persistence of racism and racial inequality you have to know what happened in the past. Learning more about the establishment of slavery as a business practice foundational to the American economy is a good place to start. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward Baptist is a riveting historical account of both the brutal realities of enslavement…

From Beverly's list on why racism persists.

The Industrial Revolution of the U.S. could not have taken place without the disenfranchisement of Black Americans. Forced remedial labor under restrictive covenants and Jim Crow ensured oppression. The forced labor of Black Americans and stolen lands of Tribal nations has been the constant leverage used to catapult the U.S. into the quintessential superpower. Edward Baptist, the author provides the reader with a thorough mathematical analysis of how the plantations of the Southeast and the non-Union jobs of the Northeast laid the foundation of the current capitalist economy. Driven by greed, the book outlines in detail how a sequence of…

From Jillian's list on the history of land dispossession.

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