"The combination of secondary and primary extracts with substantial editorial pieces is particularly impressive. The overview, followed by essays for each section, looks good. Often editorial pieces in other works are too brief. The coverage of the colonial period as well as later years is a significant strength, and the balance between thematic and chronological emphasis is good."
—Michael Tadman, University of Liverpool
"Kenneth Morgan then is to be complimented for attempting to bring together a range of documents, essays, and short synopsis, all into one work accessible to undergraduate students. All of us who teach undergraduate history courses, whether surveys or upper division courses will be in Morgan’s debt for producing a work that should stimulate classroom discussion. . . . Kenneth Morgan has done a remarkable job synthesizing a tremendous amount of historical research. . . . He has also managed to put into the hands of students and scholars a concise volume that tells us a great deal about the institution of slavery. This is clearly an important work that students and teachers will do well to consult as a very useful resource."
The book begins with a substantial introduction to the entire volume that gives an overview of slavery in North America. Each of the twelve chapters that follow has an introduction that discusses the leading secondary books and articles on the topic in question, followed by an essay and three primary documents. Questions for further study and discussion are included in the chapter introduction, while further readings are suggested in the chapter bibliography.
Topics covered include slave culture, the slave-based economy, slavery and the law, slave resistance, pro-slavery ideology, abolition, and emancipation. The essays, by such eminent historians as Drew Gilpin Faust, Don E. Fehrenbacher, Eric Foner, John Hope Franklin, and Sylvia R. Frey, have been selected for their teaching value and ability to provoke discussion. Drawing on black and white, male and female experiences, the primary documents come from a wide variety of sources: diaries, letters, laws, debates, oral testimonies, travelers’ accounts, inventories, journals, autobiographies, petitions, and novels.
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