Them Dark Days
Slavery in the American Rice Swamps

William Dusinberre

A compelling challenge to popular theories about slavery


"One of the most ambitious and important studies on slavery to appear in recent years."
Journal of American History

"[A] vast and multifaceted new interpretation of slavery. Among his most impressive achievements is that he draws from these all-too-familiar sources so much that is fresh, provocative, and fully worthy of our attention. . . . Dusinberre's arguments are compelling."
American Historical Review

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Them Dark Days is a study of the callous, capitalistic nature of the vast rice plantations along the southeastern coast. It is essential reading for anyone whose view of slavery’s horrors might be softened by the current historical emphasis on slave community and family and slave autonomy and empowerment.

Looking at Gowrie and Butler Island plantations in Georgia and Chicora Wood in South Carolina, William Dusinberre considers a wide range of issues related to daily life and work there: health, economics, politics, dissidence, coercion, discipline, paternalism, and privilege. Based on overseers’ letters, slave testimonies, and plantation records, Them Dark Days offers a vivid reconstruction of slavery in action and casts a sharp new light on slave history.

Page count: 576 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $32.95

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William Dusinberre is Reader Emeritus in American History at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Henry Adams: The Myth of Failure and Civil War Issues in Philadelphia, 1856–1865.