Slavery and Freedom

Slavery and Freedom

3.33 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 134 x 200 x 18mm | 181.44g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0195032667
  • 9780195032666

Review Text

That intractable question - to what extent did the slaves accommodate, to what extent resist? - gets perhaps its most discerning treatment here: their response, Willie Lee Rose brings out, was a matter of learning, in childhood, "how to accommodate and when to resist." That, however, is only a by-product of one of these landmark essays - many of them celebrated addresses previously unpublished, all of them enhanced by editor Freehling's acute sense of their intent and original import. (Rose's work was cut short by a severe stroke in 1978 - a loss to American historical studies on a par with Richard Hofstadter's early death.) "The Impact of the Revolution on the Black Population" argues for the birth of the antislavery movement in the ideals of the Declaration and their ferment, thereafter, within the black population. "The Domestication of Domestic Slavery" is central to Rose's stress on the institution's evolution: "In earlier, harsher times, [slaves] had been seen as luckless, unfortunate barbarians. Now they were treated as children expected never to grow up." Then, following the account of childhood acculturation, comes (from Rose's prize-winning Rehearsal for Reconstruction) an example of methodology-made-art: "Fall came late to South Carolina in 1861. . . The Negroes too had heard the guns, and some had hidden in the swamps and in the fields, crouching low between the corn rows. Others had sensed their power for the first time and had suddenly stood their ground before their masters, impervious to cajolery and threats that the Yankees would sell them to Cuba." The two succeeding essays focus on Reconstruction: the southern planter's "internal conflict" between the (God-given, popularly-endorsed) overthrow of slavery and his own conviction of the ex-slaves' incapacity; the black freedmen's obscure political "trail" (and the difficulty, for a historian, of positioning it). Next: a group of searching essay-reviews - of Alex Haley's Roots, of books on Frederick Douglass and John Brown (and the problem of armed revolt), on US vs. Brazilian and British colonial slavery. And, for anyone with an interest in history-as-it's written: an assessment of slave studies, from Stampp to Genevese and Fogel-and-Engerman; reflections on the interpretation of primary sources; a model bibliographic introduction. All told: meticulous scholarship, luminous writing, exacting analysis. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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