10 books like Inhuman Bondage

By David Brion Davis,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Inhuman Bondage. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Lynching and Spectacle

By Amy Louise Wood,

Book cover of Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940

Most people’s idea of lynching is the sanitized version that they have picked up from movies and TV. However, the practice of lynching, as it was carried out in the United States from the late 19th to well into the 20th century, was far more hideous than a few people hanging a man from a tree. This classic contribution concentrates on spectacle lynchings. These were public lynchings attended by hundreds or even thousands of spectators. They involved hours of torture and bodily mutilation, often culminating in the victim being burned alive. Lynching and Spectacle is a vital read for anyone wishing to understand the full horror of American Racism.

Lynching and Spectacle

By Amy Louise Wood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lynching and Spectacle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This title presents public reinforcement of white supremacy. Lynch mobs in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America often exacted horrifying public torture and mutilation on their victims. In ""Lynching and Spectacle"", Amy Wood explains what it meant for white Americans to perform and witness these sadistic spectacles and what they derived from them. Lynching, Wood argues, overlapped with a wide range of cultural practices and performances, both traditional and modern, including public executions, religious rituals, photography, and cinema. The connections between lynching and these practices encouraged the horrific violence committed and gave it social acceptability.Wood expounds on the critical role…


The Nazi Conscience

By Claudia Koonz,

Book cover of The Nazi Conscience

One of the most difficult facets of Nazism for my college students to grasp is that the Nazis had a sense of ethics and morals. It’s easy to look at the horrors of Nazism, rightfully condemn the Nazis as monstrous, and congratulate ourselves on having the moral and ethical fiber that would never allow us to engage in such atrocities. The thing is, though, that so much of the evil committed in this world is committed by people who think they are doing what’s right. Koonz’s examination of Nazi morals is an uncomfortable read but a necessary one. It forced me and it forces my students to confront the unpleasant truth that evil also has a sense of “moral” and “immoral.”

The Nazi Conscience

By Claudia Koonz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Nazi Conscience as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Nazi conscience is not an oxymoron. In fact, the perpetrators of genocide had a powerful sense of right and wrong, based on civic values that exalted the moral righteousness of the ethnic community and denounced outsiders.

Claudia Koonz's latest work reveals how racial popularizers developed the infrastructure and rationale for genocide during the so-called normal years before World War II. Her careful reading of the voluminous Nazi writings on race traces the transformation of longtime Nazis' vulgar anti-Semitism into a racial ideology that seemed credible to the vast majority of ordinary Germans who never joined the Nazi Party. Challenging…


The Law of Blood

By Johann Chapoutot, Miranda Richmond Mouillot (translator),

Book cover of The Law of Blood: Thinking and Acting as a Nazi

I recently described this book on social media as possibly the best book on National Socialism that I have ever read (and I’ve read quite a few). Chapoutot is a brilliant French historian, and in this book (which is a great follow-up to Coonz) he delves deeply into the Nazi mindset, focusing on the interlocking set of beliefs and values that made the extermination of the so-called inferior races not only possible but necessary. One of the unique features of this tour de force is Chapoutot’s description of how it was not just Hitler, Goebbels, and their ilk, but also distinguished German scholars and jurists, that shaped the genocidal Nazi agenda.

The Law of Blood

By Johann Chapoutot, Miranda Richmond Mouillot (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Law of Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research

The scale and the depth of Nazi brutality seem to defy understanding. What could drive people to fight, kill, and destroy with such ruthless ambition? Observers and historians have offered countless explanations since the 1930s. According to Johann Chapoutot, we need to understand better how the Nazis explained it themselves. We need a clearer view, in particular, of how they were steeped in and spread the idea that history gave them no choice: it was either kill or die.

Chapoutot, one of France's leading historians, spent years immersing himself…


Hitler's American Model

By James Q. Whitman.,

Book cover of Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

My first two picks concern the inhumanities that White Americans perpetrated against Black people, and my second two picks concern the inhumanities that Nazis perpetrated against Jews, Roma, and others. My fifth pick brings both of these seemingly independent strands together. In it, Yale University historian James Q. Whitman documents how, during the early years of the regime, Nazi lawyers looked to racist American legislation as a model for the infamous 1935 Nuremburg laws, which were the first step down the road that led to Auschwitz. This short, eye-opening book leads readers to see how American racist values were not only bad in themselves, but also contributed to the most horrific genocide of the twentieth century.

Hitler's American Model

By James Q. Whitman.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hitler's American Model as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How American race law provided a blueprint for Nazi Germany

Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States. Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis? The unsettling answer is yes. In Hitler's American Model, James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime. Both American citizenship and antimiscegenation laws proved directly relevant to the two principal Nuremberg Laws-the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law. Contrary to those who have insisted otherwise, Whitman…


Young Frederick Douglass

By Dickson J. Preston,

Book cover of Young Frederick Douglass

An evocative account of the young Douglass and the Maryland world into which he was born. Originally published in 1980 but recently re-released, this is a beautiful book that delivers much more than the title suggests. It is also the book that finally pinpointed the correct month and year in which Douglass was born – February 1818. Those who enslaved people often kept such precious, deeply personal information away from those they enslaved - it was a sign of power, one minor manifestation of the many inquities of slavery.

Young Frederick Douglass

By Dickson J. Preston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Young Frederick Douglass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"No one working on Douglass should leave home without a copy of this book."-from the foreword by David W. Blight, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Drawing on previously untapped sources, Young Frederick Douglass recreates with fidelity and in convincing detail the background and early life of the man who was to become "the gadfly of America's conscience" and the undisputed spokesman for nineteenth-century black Americans.

With a new foreword by renowned Douglass scholar David W. Blight, Dickson J. Preston's highly regarded biography traces the life and times of Frederick Douglass from his birth on Maryland's…


The Crooked Path to Abolition

By James Oakes,

Book cover of The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution

Some people assume that Lincoln at first faintly disapproved of slavery but did not think of abolishing it until the chance was almost forced upon him. Oakes argues, rather, that he hated slavery from the outset and held that the Constitution viewed it as temporary, something deplorable and to be disparaged. Armed with this knowledge, he was able in practice to strike at it whenever opportunity made that possible.

The Crooked Path to Abolition

By James Oakes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Crooked Path to Abolition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The long and turning path to the abolition of American slavery has often been attributed to the equivocations and inconsistencies of anti-slavery leaders, including Lincoln himself. But James Oakes's brilliant history of Lincoln's anti-slavery strategies reveals a striking consistency and commitment extending over many years. The linchpin of anti-slavery for Lincoln was the Constitution of the United States.

Lincoln adopted the anti-slavery view that the Constitution made freedom the rule in the United States, slavery the exception. Where federal power prevailed, so did freedom. Where state power prevailed, that state determined the status of slavery and the federal government could…


Bury the Chains

By Adam Hochschild,

Book cover of Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves

This is a riveting account of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire and biography of abolitionist Thomas Clarkson. Clarkson committed himself to ending the slave trade in 1785 and pursued this objective until his final speeches in the 1840s. The book is an incredible lesson in persistence and perseverance, as Hochschild follows the advancement and setbacks of a century-long social movement. While racial domination and modern slavery are still very real, abolition represented the awakening of global civil society, and a significant transformation toward a socially just global economy. For anyone feeling a lack of hope about change, there is real inspiration here. 

Bury the Chains

By Adam Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bury the Chains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author of King Leopold's Ghost offers a stirring account of the first great human rights crusade, which originated in England in the 1780s and resulted in the freeing of hundreds of thousands of slaves around the world.


Cloudsplitter

By Russell Banks,

Book cover of Cloudsplitter

What makes this immense novel (768 pages) so engrossing is that we get a very inside view of the great (or demonic—depending on your perspective) figure of John Brown. Told by his son Owen, the novel gives us both a panoramic view of Brown, his vision of slavery, his tumultuous times, and his quest to eradicate slavery by any means, as well as a very intimate portrait of the myth of John Brown as opposed to man and father.  

Cloudsplitter

By Russell Banks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cloudsplitter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Owen Brown is the last surviving son of America's most famous political terrorist, John Brown, who in 1859 raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, intending to galvanise the Southern slaves into rebellion. Now Owen tells John's story. This incredible novel recreates pre-Civil War America, when slavery was tearing the country apart, and tells of one man's passage from abolitionist to guerrilla fighter and, finally, martyr. Cloudsplitter is a dazzling, suspenseful, heartbreaking story filled with both intimate scenes of domestic life and chilling violence.


The Slave's Cause

By Manisha Sinha,

Book cover of The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition

When I was growing up, I got the impression that abolitionists were either Englishmen or Quakers. While Manisha Sinha’s comprehensive, encyclopedic, and gripping chronicle of abolitionism is international, intergenerational, and interracial, The Slave’s Cause recognizes enslaved Americans and their descendants as the principal agents in the epic struggle to end slavery and establish freedom in the modern world. Sinha clarifies and connects the long, complex, and multitiered movement for abolition in the United States as she situates its Black and white protagonists, men and women, in a transnational context.

The Slave's Cause

By Manisha Sinha,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Slave's Cause as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2017 Frederick Douglass Prize

A groundbreaking history of abolition that recovers the largely forgotten role of African Americans in the long march toward emancipation from the American Revolution through the Civil War

Received historical wisdom casts abolitionists as bourgeois, mostly white reformers burdened by racial paternalism and economic conservatism. Manisha Sinha overturns this image, broadening her scope beyond the antebellum period usually associated with abolitionism and recasting it as a radical social movement in which men and women, black and white, free and enslaved found common ground in causes ranging from feminism and utopian socialism to anti-imperialism…


Freedom National

By James Oakes,

Book cover of Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865

This epic study traces the destruction of slavery throughout the United States during the Civil War. James Oakes argues, provocatively, that the Civil War did not “become” a war against slavery, as most scholars maintain. Instead, Abraham Lincoln and other Republicans were committed to a war against slavery right from the start. Oakes roots Union emancipation policy in the prewar struggles over slavery, as that institution became an all-consuming issue in national politics. Once hostilities commenced, and as enslaved persons responded by seeking shelter behind Union military lines, Republicans were ready to put their emancipationist views into practice. I may not necessarily agree with Oakes’s argument, but his book is a monumental achievement and essential reading on the topic.

Freedom National

By James Oakes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Freedom National as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Freedom National is a groundbreaking history of emancipation that joins the political initiatives of Lincoln and the Republicans in Congress with the courageous actions of Union soldiers and runaway slaves in the South. It shatters the widespread conviction that the Civil War was first and foremost a war to restore the Union and only gradually, when it became a military necessity, a war to end slavery. These two aims-"Liberty and Union, one and inseparable"-were intertwined in Republican policy from the very start of the war.

By summer 1861 the federal government invoked military authority to begin freeing slaves, immediately and…


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