Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America
Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America
Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America

Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America

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Author: Berlin, Ira

Brand: Belknap Press

Edition: 2nd Printing


  • Used Book in Good Condition

Binding: Paperback

Number Of Pages: 512

Release Date: 04-03-2000

Details: Product Description Today most Americans, black and white, identify slavery with cotton, the deep South, and the African-American church. But at the beginning of the nineteenth century, after almost two hundred years of African-American life in mainland North America, few slaves grew cotton, lived in the deep South, or embraced Christianity. Many Thousands Gone traces the evolution of black society from the first arrivals in the early seventeenth century through the Revolution. In telling their story, Ira Berlin, a leading historian of southern and African-American life, reintegrates slaves into the history of the American working class and into the tapestry of our nation.Laboring as field hands on tobacco and rice plantations, as skilled artisans in port cities, or soldiers along the frontier, generation after generation of African Americans struggled to create a world of their own in circumstances not of their own making. In a panoramic view that stretches from the North to the Chesapeake Bay and Carolina lowcountry to the Mississippi Valley, Many Thousands Gone reveals the diverse forms that slavery and freedom assumed before cotton was king. We witness the transformation that occurred as the first generations of creole slaves―who worked alongside their owners, free blacks, and indentured whites―gave way to the plantation generations, whose back-breaking labor was the sole engine of their society and whose physical and linguistic isolation sustained African traditions on American soil.As the nature of the slaves’ labor changed with place and time, so did the relationship between slave and master, and between slave and society. In this fresh and vivid interpretation, Berlin demonstrates that the meaning of slavery and of race itself was continually renegotiated and redefined, as the nation lurched toward political and economic independence and grappled with the Enlightenment ideals that had inspired its birth. Review “The American Constitution chose slavery...and the nation justified the choice by formulating an ideology that made blacks into something less than human beings. The result, as historian Ira Berlin argues in a new book on slavery, Many Thousands Gone, is that African slavery became "no longer just one of many forms of subordination―a common enough circumstance in a world ruled by hierarchies―but the foundation on which the social order rested."” ― Ellis Cose , Newsweek “Ira Berlin's magisterial [book] is a story of slavery in evolutionary perspective...As a comprehensive study of early North American slavery the work is unexcelled and will be a boon to students and scholars alike.” ― Daniel C. Littlefield , Slavery and Abolition “In [ Many Thousands Gone], Berlin emphasises that slavery, too often treated by historians as a static institution, was in fact constantly changing. The range of subjects is impressive―from work patterns to family life, naming practices, religions, race relations and modes of resistance. But by organising his account along the axes of space and time, Berlin gives coherence to what would otherwise have been an account overwhelming by its detail and complexity... Many Thousands Gone is likely to remain for years to come the standard account of the first two centuries of slavery in the area that became the United States.” ― Eric Foner , London Review of Books “Berlin's study is the best account we have of the beginnings of servitude in America. It is also a reminder of slavery's adaptability. The notion that it was necessarily tied to the production of export staples is false.” ― Howard Temperley , Times Literary Supplement “Occasionally we are rewarded with a brave soul willing to impose shape and direction on what has become, for many, a prodigiously confusing historiography. Ira Berlin, like the very best historians who have tackled the problem, brings to the task a formidable record as a researcher and writer in more specialised areas of slave and post-slave studies. The

Package Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches

Languages: English