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Publisher's Summary

In Inhuman Bondage, David Brion Davis sums up a lifetime of insight, beginning with the dramatic Amistad case. He looks at slavery in the American South, describing black slaveholding planters; the rise of the Cotton Kingdom; the daily life of ordinary slaves; the highly destructive internal long-distance slave trade; the sexual exploitation of slaves; the emergence of an African-American culture; and much more. A definitive history by a writer deeply immersed in the subject, Inhuman Bondage links together the profits of slavery, the pain of the enslaved, and the legacy of racism.

David Brion Davis is recognized as the leading authority on slavery in the Western world. His books have won such awards as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

©2006 David Brion Davis; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A tour de force....explaining what has made slavery's consequences so much a part of contemporary American culture and politics." (New York Times Book Review)
"The broader perspective on American slavery, its social and economic impact on the growth of the U.S., forces readers to face the contradictions between our democratic ideals and economic impulses." (Booklist)
"Davis...succeeds heroically in wrestling a vast amount of material from diverse cultures. The result is a sinewy book that combines erudition and everyday detail into a gripping, often surprising, narrative." (Wall Street Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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  • Overall

Very Useful Contribution

This book will shock many who know little about the enslavement of Africans. Although the book addresses the enslavement of other peoples and also the system of indenture, it does so largely to give colour to its discussion about the enslavement of Africans and the creation and perpetuation of ant-Black racism. There is so much material about this period in history that I wish that Audible would make more material available. There is a slew of material on Audible about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War but most of it is told from the perspectives of great men or the battlefield. While it commences before the Revolutionary War, this book speaks to some of the most important social forces that gave rise to those wars and that indeed have given rise to modern America.

While some of the material in the book has been well covered elsewhere, some of it is rare and rarer yet have been attempts to bring to together a number of the disparate parts under this cover. The book is extremely well read.

36 of 36 people found this review helpful

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A History That I Learned Nowhere Else

What did you love best about Inhuman Bondage?

This book taught me more about the history of slavery than I have learned in a lifetime. It's a fascinating story, with perspective about the story of slavery that I thoroughly enjoyed learning. Slavery has been interwoven in the human experience for thousands of years, but the evolution and development of race slavery was a special case. This book is one of the best and most interesting history books that I read or listened to.

What about Raymond Todd’s performance did you like?

Todd has a great reading voice. I enjoyed listening to him.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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A historically rigorous portrait of slavery

This is a wonderful and fascinating book which paints a detailed portrait of the intellectual and economic history of slavery in the new world. For me, Davis' dry style adds force to his treatment of the repellant subject. This book is relatively sparse on details of slave's everyday lives, instead it focuses on the ways in which the forced labor of African slaves was essential for the profitability of New World colonies and their successors, especially the American South. I believe that this focus prevents the reader from viewing slavery as the aberrant work of a few slave owning sadists and forces her to grapple with its foundational importance to the U.S. and other New World nations. This book ought to be part of every High School history curriculum.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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I learned many new things

A story clearly told full of the twists and turns that defy a straight (and narrow) understanding of our history. Thoroughly enjoyable.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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To battle the White supremacist on Twitter

Read this book to correct the lies and justification white supremacist give for slavery. Know the true history of slavery around the world and especially in the Americas.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent, but focused on English-speaking regions

I wish the author would have dived more deeply into slavery in Latin America as the title suggests, and that's why I gave it a 4 star review. Other than that the book is a masterpiece on the phenomenon of slavery in North America and the British West Indies as well as the origins of New World slavery in the XVI century.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Looking objectively at a dark prieod of history

Would you listen to Inhuman Bondage again? Why?

I would like to listen to some parts again to refresh my memory in certain events.

What did you like best about this story?

It gives an overall picture of slavery in history. It is a thought provoking story. Humans can be very inhuman towards other living beings including humans. Even today slavery exists in less cruel forms, especially in the form of various exploitative situations.

Which scene was your favorite?

Civil war description.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Inhuman treatment to slaves by way of physical punishments are very sad.

Any additional comments?

This is a good source of information for any person who is interested in history.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • BB
  • 12-07-10

Soup to Nuts

Pretty good read on Slavery in the Americas leading up to the Civil War. The book covers the highlights from soups to nuts. Objective and informative.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Dry but informational

I picked up this audiobook because I have always struggled to understand the Southern obsession with pre-war culture and history. This book did a great job of explaining the prevailing political, cultural and social pressures that kept slavery in place for so long as well as those pressures that helped to end this most appalling practice in the US and globally. However, the target audience of the book should ideally have a firm grasp on American history and should not expect an emotional analysis of the evils of slavery. Rather, this title reads like a coldly rational text book, but it also contains more information than a more anthropocentric analysis of slavery would provide.

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  • Fritz
  • Leesburg, VA, United States
  • 06-04-13

LOSES FOCUS

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No I would not. The book seems to be all over the place. It does not focus on a common theme. I found myself getting lost in multiple topics that were off point.

What was most disappointing about David Brion Davis’s story?

I did not understand Davis's digression to religion in regards to denominations and color.

How could the performance have been better?

Not sure.

Do you think Inhuman Bondage needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. There was no real system.

Any additional comments?

I could not complete the book because it lost me and had no direction.

3 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael Gayle
  • 09-16-15

Great Audiobook

Great Audiobook that was very informative and helped to identify further reading that will expand my knowledge in regards to one of the most tramatic abuse that has happened to mankind

1 of 1 people found this review helpful