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Slavery and the Making of America
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About the Author

James Oliver Horton is the Benjamin Banneker Professor of American Studies & History at George Washington University, and Historian Emeritus at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Lois E. Horton is a Professor of History at George Mason University. They are the authors of such classic studies as Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North, In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860, and Hard Road to Freedom: The Story of African America.

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Adult/High School-This outstanding resource humanizes the tragedy of slavery and shows its legacy as it continues to shape American culture today. Through both paraphrased and quoted primary sources, the Hortons discuss the issues, relate events, and tell the stories of named slaves from the early 1700s to the end of Reconstruction. By bringing individuals to life, the inhumanity is made more real and vivid. Readers meet 13-year-old Anta Njaay, who was plucked from Africa in 1806, and the Ball family, who were slaves in South Carolina, as well as people such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth. Much research has gone into this work, but the writing is accessible. Black-and-white photographs and period reproductions are liberally sprinkled throughout. Although they are a bit dark due to age, they make the text more interesting and lifelike.-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"This is an excellent addition to any Civil War or American history library."--Richard Sauers, The Civil War News "This is an excellent addition to any Civil War or American history library."--Richard Sauers, The Civil War News "This is a gripping tale of the African and African American experience, full of drama, tragedy, and courage. The Hortons demonstrate their wide mastery of the literature, telling the tragic and triumphant story of the 'peculiar institution' through the words and experiences of the people who lived it."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University "The Hortons have long been among the most distinguished scholars working on the history of slavery, and their newest book exhibits their signature qualities: wide research, interpretive balance and crisp, accessible prose and a wealth of visual material. If the book contains few revelations for specialists, it is apt to be eye-opening for the popular audiences.... A remarkably dispassionate book that never succumbs to pathos or preachiness."--James T. Campbell, Washington Post Book World "The oft-told tale is made fresh through up-to-date slavery scholarship, the extensive use of slave narratives and archival photos and, especially, a focus on individual experience. The well-known players (Attucks, Vesey, Tubman, Douglass) appear, but so do the more anonymous ones--the planter's wife and the slave driver share space with the abolitionist and the Confederate soldier, and all are skillfully etched. As the Hortons chronicle lives from freedom in Africa to slavery in America and beyond, they tell an integral American story, a tale not of juxtaposition but of edgy oneness."--Publishers Weekly "A terrific historical account of the roles and influence that the black slaves made on the United States. The Hortons provide an insightful look on how the slaves impacted all aspects of culture. The authors pull no punches while making a solid logical argument with strong supporting evidence that blacks were major players in the colonial and birth of a nation America. Especially interesting is the deep look at various roles and of unknown people. Anecdotal reciting and photographs augment this superb account of how much the black slaves influenced America. Easy to read but difficult to put down because the book is so engrossing, this is a fabulous tome that history buffs will take immense delight in as the Hortons make their case quite interesting as they shatter preconceptions of early American History with insightfulness."--Harriet Klausner, The Midwest Book Review "Shows how the history of American slavery and the history of the American nation are intertwined and how the effects of slavery continued well after its official abolition during the Civil War. Rare illustrations and scrupulous attention to the viewpoint of the slaves make this account especially interesting."--The Tampa Tribune "Dissects the incredible influences of the terrible moral fault in our history."--The Nashville City Paper "An excellent guide to an often difficult subject. Complete with dozens of images, a chronology of events, a list of recommended readings and website suggestions, Slavery and the Making of America is an up-to-date book, which offers not only a strong central storyline but also resources for further study."--North & South "Ambitious.... Revises the historical record and overturns long-held beliefs about the institution of slavery and what it has meant to the country."--The Denver Post "Brings the appalling history of slavery into an especially clear focus by laying out of a fuller, more detailed historical/cultural timeline."--The Stamford Advocate

Bailey (history, Spelman) spent several years studying local communities in an area of Ghana known as the Old Slave Coast, hoping to bring to light the African perspective on the Atlantic slave trade. Finding the oral record essentially mute, she speculates that the shame associated with slavery has led to this silence. She notes that domestic slavery in Africa, which predated the Atlantic slave trade, played a role similar to prisons in Western countries so that it was already taboo-a fact compounded by the active role African nations took in trading with Europeans. The book describes and analyzes the few stories that have been remembered and looks at the social, political, and spiritual ramifications of the slave trade for the African coast. She further attempts to validate this oral history by comparing it with known historical records. Though well written and intriguing, this is a speculative and highly personal account (Bailey's Jamaican ancestors were most likely slaves). Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. How could a country founded on the principles of freedom, independence, and equality for all condone slavery? Horton's very readable account examines this contradiction largely from the perspective of the enslaved. Relying heavily on slave narratives and primary documents from the era, Horton (history, George Washington Univ.) brings to life the horror of American slavery. He skillfully weaves the tales of individual slaves into the narrative, which looks at the institution from its beginnings in 1619 through its end in the 19th century. The book shows the heroic efforts made by generations of slaves to free themselves using whatever tools they had, from persuasion to violence, and also examines the often misguided efforts made by whites to help slaves (e.g., 19th-century colonization efforts). He challenges many widely held beliefs about slavery (e.g., that it was only a Southern institution) and shows how it evolved from a few slaves in Virginia to a labor system integral to the development of the United States. Accompanying a four-part PBS documentary series narrated by Morgan Freeman, this book is highly recommended for all libraries.-Robert Flatley, Kutztown Univ., PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

In this compact and lucid account of how "[t]he history of slavery is central to the history of the United States," the Hortons (Hard Road to Freedom, etc.) demonstrate the vital role that blacks played in landmarks of the American record (colonial settlement, the Revolution, westward expansion, the Civil War, Reconstruction). Africans and African-Americans appear not just as "passive laborers" but as shapers of American culture, from colonial politics to Southern cuisine. The authors reveal the myriad experiences of free and enslaved blacks and devote particular attention to the lives of women, both white and black. The oft-told tale is made fresh through up-to-date slavery scholarship, the extensive use of slave narratives and archival photos and, especially, a focus on individual experience. The well-known players (Attucks, Vesey, Tubman, Douglass) appear, but so do the more anonymous ones-the planter's wife and the slave driver share space with the abolitionist and the Confederate soldier, and all are skillfully etched. As the Hortons chronicle lives from freedom in Africa to slavery in America and beyond, they tell an integral American story, a tale not of juxtaposition but of edgy oneness. (Oct.) Forecast: A dense but highly readable volume, this may see solid sales in 2005, when the PBS special of the same name airs in February. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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