Pulitzer Prize, General Nonfiction, 2009
In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history: an Age of Neoslavery that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II.
Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter.
By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.
©2009 Douglas A. Blackmon (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
“Shocking....Eviscerates one of our schoolchildren's most basic assumptions: that slavery in America ended with the Civil War.” (The New York Times)
“The genius of Blackmon's book is that it illuminates both the real human tragedy and the profoundly corrupting nature of the Old South slavery as it transformed to establish a New South social order.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Opens the mind to a side history never told and needing to be exposed. I found myself constantly pausing after some parts to simply reflect on what I just read- not because it was difficult to read, but because it was unbelievable that this was real life.
This book is one of my all time favorites. would definitely 100% recommend this to others.
The information presented here is powerful, moving, and not well enough known. I would have liked more perspective about things such as the total number of black vs. white convicts, the total black population in areas under discussion, and so on. Still, the story is well told and hard to forget. The reader is okay, though he has a number of vocal ticks that increasingly grate (esp. a sort of Clintonesque yawn/purr, the sound equivalent of tilting your head). Also, someone should have prevented his comic pronunciation of Dubois (which he reads like Blanche Dubois) and Tuskegee.
I expected this book to rehash the well-known civil rights abuses that took place between the abolition of slavery and the Civil Rights Movements a hundred years later, but in fact it did so much more than that: it taught me things about US history and slave history in the US which I had never known.
It's a terrible, intimate portrait of one family and the economic and political situation which encompassed them in a whirlwind of oppression. Set against the backdrop of their lives and struggles, the book meticulously documents how slavery continued "underground" after emancipation on a vast, all-encompassing scale through the various machinations of the US legal and corporate systems, protected at every level under the broad umbrella of "progress", how the North turned a blind eye, and on and on.
At its heart this is a very important, overlooked part of American history whose legacy continues through the present day; it was this post-bellum period which sowed the seeds of contemporary race politics and relations in the US more even than slavery itself. It created a blueprint for future generations of white men for how they can keep men (especially) of color on their knees even beyond the Civil Rights Movement, with full protection of the the legal system and corporate America. This is the post-emancipation history we never learned in school.
Although not intended as such, this book is an excellent prequel to The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, which views the mass incarceration of black men as an extension of Jim Crow laws in modern "color-blind" America.
There are some very memorable moments, but what really counts is learning about the situation of blacks in America from the end of the Civil War until World War II and after. This was a part of US history I had not known and it changed my view not only of African Americans but of the country as a whole.
No, but he is excellent.
Yes, it sure did. I am still reeling.
I cannot recommend this book too strongly. Anybody who lives in the US or has anything to do with the US (which is just about everyone in the world) must read this to have a better understanding of the country, its evolution, and its people. Foreigners not well acquainted with American history, however, must not imagine that this is all there is to it: there is much in that extraordinary story that people from other cultures cannot imagine, though this book recounts a very important and little known chapter.
No. It's not entertaining. The stories are seared into one's memory.
No favorite character
Suntrust revealing to its employees that the Bank's starting equity was largely the result of massive profits from slave labor well into the 1900s.
Same as book
Shocking. Powerful. Insightful. Must Listen American History
Book becomes a little tedious early on, with repetition of amount of debt & fines, but eventually the book pulls you through the darkness of the period. Told through the experience of a single family in part, which take the cold subject to a more personal view. Well researched and wonderfully narrated.
This book is a must-read for every American, particularly southerners. It is eye opening and poignant. I am much more educated about slavery and the implications of black imprisonment after reading this book.
This should be required reading for all college students. Understand the present by looking at our full history, as painful as it may be.
Or at least your understanding of American history. The book untangles much of America's deceit and delusions about its racial history and lays it all out for you.
This book is so powerful. it should be read by every American. We need to go back in time and learn the real history of our past. The history most of us embraces is full of lies. Mr. Blackmon's book allows us to look at ourselves in the mirror. Are you ready to confront our true past? If so, pick up this amazing important book.
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