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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

Twenty years after this celebrated work of narrative nonfiction won the National Book Award and changed the American conversation about race, Slaves in the Family makes its audio debut, with a new preface by the author. 

The Ball family hails from South Carolina - Charleston and thereabouts. Their plantations were among the oldest and longest-standing plantations in the South. Between 1698 and 1865, close to 4,000 Black people were born into slavery under the Balls or were bought by them.

In Slaves in the Family, Edward Ball recounts his efforts to track down and meet the descendants of his family's slaves. Part historical narrative, part oral history, part personal story of investigation and catharsis, Slaves in the Family is, in the words of Pat Conroy, "a work of breathtaking generosity and courage, a magnificent study of the complexity and strangeness and beauty of the word ‘family.'" 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©1998, 2014 Text copyright Edward Ball, Preface copyright Edward Ball (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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What listeners say about Slaves in the Family

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  • Overall
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Gives a good insight for moving forward today

It was hard to keep the lineage and family tree straight. The author did a good job trying to help me keep it straight. I think maybe for me to read it in print would help. We like to think that the slave issue is not our issue and with freedom people should “get over it”. The author reminds us that even though the past can’t be changed we can change the future. The past should be a guide and a prod to help us all do better. White and black. We all see things through the filter of what had gone before. This book is a great reminder that to change there must be respect, kindness and most of all charity. If you like history or sociology this book is for you

7 people found this helpful

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Exceptional vision

Remarkable American history research. Beautiful, insightful, honest writing; extraordinary narration by author, who manages to suggest the voices of different people.

5 people found this helpful

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Mind blowing - Excellent

Thank you so much for what must’ve been an extraordinary effort to put this information together. So well written, it’s as if I were back in time observing and seeing the stories right before my eyes. The book has transformed my entire understanding of slavery. I’m grateful for the good members of this family throughout the years and I’m also grateful for the labor and toil of each slave. I feel that this book goes along way to heal and apologize for what has occurred, Although clearly it could never be sufficient. Thank you.

- Mark Kennedy of Nauvoo, Illinois
Mark.kennedy305@gmail.com

4 people found this helpful

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Fantastic book

A great listen. I would like to obtain the maps and photographs associated with the book. I will read more of Edward Ball’s books. Thoroughly enjoyable and informative.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent view into the history of slavery from both a human and economic perspective.

Listened to it multiple times and plan to purchase it in hard cover for my library. The range of time shows the economic impact earlier than the usual civil war period. Already gifted it , to help spread the reality of slavery.

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First person histories

Although I was interested in this story and thought it would be important to know, I didn’t realize it would be so captivating. I sometimes lost track of who specific people were in this complicated family, but it didn’t affect my overall understanding and appreciation of this detailed family history of enslaved people and their enslavers. But the best part was Edward Ball’s narration and his ability to give subtle differences to the voices of all the people he wrote about—I actually didn’t realize the author was the narrator until the end. Amazing!

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thanks for the journey

i don't have enough words to describe how much i enjoyed this book. wonderfully wonderful

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Where's the movie!!!!!

This story needs to be put on the screen. it reminded me of Miss Jane Pitman.

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Yes

This book was a very good and highly researched account of one’s family tree. It made me interested in learning about mine as well.