Edward E. BaptistSep 8, 2014
The Half Has Never Been Told
Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
Basic Books 2014
An unflinching examination of the trauma, violence, opportunism, and vision that combined to create the empire for slavery that was the Old South, Ed Baptist's new book The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic Books, 2014) challenges popular conceptions of that region that imagine it as a land of proud men, genteel ladies, and an antiquated, inefficient system of labor. The slavery that Baptist uncovers is dynamic, relentless, brutal, and extremely profitable. Surviving it, he shows, was an impressive accomplishment all its own. And its role in driving the development of American capitalism in the formative years of the republic raises troubling questions about the legacy of slavery in contemporary times.