Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market
Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market
Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market

Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market

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Author: Johnson, Walter

Brand: Harvard University Press

Edition: 58327th


  • Used Book in Good Condition

Binding: Paperback

Format: Illustrated

Number Of Pages: 320

Release Date: 01-12-1999

Details: Product Description Winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner AwardWinner of the John Hope Franklin PrizeWinner of the Avery O. Craven AwardSoul by Soul tells the story of slavery in antebellum America by moving away from the cotton plantations and into the slave market itself, the heart of the domestic slave trade. Taking us inside the New Orleans slave market, the largest in the nation, where 100,000 men, women, and children were packaged, priced, and sold, Walter Johnson transforms the statistics of this chilling trade into the human drama of traders, buyers, and slaves, negotiating sales that would alter the life of each. What emerges is not only the brutal economics of trading but the vast and surprising interdependencies among the actors involved.Using recently discovered court records, slaveholders’ letters, nineteenth-century narratives of former slaves, and the financial documentation of the trade itself, Johnson reveals the tenuous shifts of power that occurred in the market’s slave coffles and showrooms. Traders packaged their slaves by “feeding them up,” dressing them well, and oiling their bodies, but they ultimately relied on the slaves to play their part as valuable commodities. Slave buyers stripped the slaves and questioned their pasts, seeking more honest answers than they could get from the traders. In turn, these examinations provided information that the slaves could utilize, sometimes even shaping a sale to their own advantage.Johnson depicts the subtle interrelation of capitalism, paternalism, class consciousness, racism, and resistance in the slave market, to help us understand the centrality of the “peculiar institution” in the lives of slaves and slaveholders alike. His pioneering history is in no small measure the story of antebellum slavery. Review “The focus of this fine book, which is at once doggedly scrupulous and quietly passionate, is the slave market that operated in New Orleans in the years before the Civil War… An area of recent and still tentative study has to do with the effect the slaves had on the people who bought and sold them; to this Johnson makes important and original contributions… In what it tells us about the slaves, Soul by Soul adds more detail to what is by now a staggering body of information. It is in telling us more about what slavery did to the men and women who stood on the privileged side of the divide that Johnson performs his most useful service. Slavery brutalized its victims, but it also corrupted its masters. It was, in every single regard, unspeakable.” ― Jonathan Yardley , Washington Post Book World “A forceful reminder that life in the Crescent City after the battle wasn't all toleration… [This is an] elegant and intelligent book.” ― Nicholas Lemann , New Yorker “Just when readers might have thought nothing new could be written about slavery, Walter Johnson's behind-the-scenes look at the New Orleans slave market unmasks the brutalities of trafficking in human flesh in a terrifying, unforgettable manner. Mr. Johnson's carefully researched saga picks up after the 1808 U.S. ban on trans-Atlantic slave trading. Far from shutting down slavery, the prohibition simply boosted domestic slave trafficking… Soul by Soul gives context to its content, making it a fascinating 'insider's' view of a world created by slavery.” ― Meta G. Carstarphen , Dallas Morning News “[ Soul by Soul has] an interesting and compelling argument… Where Johnson succeeds…[is in] using the New Orleans slave market, its contents and its customers as a way to understand a culture that no longer exists.” ― Matthew DeBord , Salon “Johnson's extremely rich and subtle work, the first in-depth look at the slave markets, never lets the reader forget the reality that this was a trade in human beings… Among the most striking and important aspects of the book is the way Johnson makes clear the resistance of enslaved African-Americans to becoming mere items of property… Johnson teaches us that, de

Package Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.0 inches

Languages: English