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Publisher's Summary

The American Slave Coast tells the horrific story of how the slavery business in the United States made the reproductive labor of "breeding women" essential to the expansion of the nation. The book shows how slaves' children, and their children's children, were human savings accounts that were the basis of money and credit. This was so deeply embedded in the economy of the slave states that it could be decommissioned only by emancipation, achieved through the bloodiest war in the history of the United States.

The American Slave Coast is an alternative history of the United States that presents the slavery business, as well as familiar historical figures and events, in a revealing new light.

©2016 Ned Sublette and Constance Sublette (P)2016 Tantor

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Get "The Half Has Never Been Told" instead!



Ned & Constance Sublette have put together a thoroughly researched and well-told account of the slavery economy. The primary focus is on the slave trade from the Atlantic Coast (Maryland/Virginia vs. South Carolina/Georgia) to the cotton lands opened up by the Louisiana Purchase and subsequent wars. It covers much of the same territory as Edward Baptist's "The Half Has Never Been Told," relying on many overlapping primary sources, and comes to similar conclusions as well. However, I found Baptist's prose is livelier and more engaging than the Sublette's, though the latter provide more complete social and historical context.

While this book is worth reading, I would advise you avoid the audio version. The narrator does an atrocious job; the reviewer who compared the narration to Siri is pretty much on the mark. Odd pauses within sentences, sometimes even within words; mispronunciations; and a complete lack of emotion do an utter disservice to this important material. By contrast, the narration of "The Half Has Never Been Told" is excellent.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Important & Thoroughly Researched, Terrible Reader

I have both the paperback and the audible version of this insightful and enlightening story of how slavery is integral to the history of the United States. It's a detailed and engaging work that is well written, and extensively documented. But by all means get the book. As other reviewers have noted this reader has a flat and mechanical presentation. That's not so bad for a history book, in my opinion. However, the mangled and idiosyncratic pronunciation of some words is very distracting. Where is the audio editor for this audible edition? I note that some words that are mispronounced early are correctly pronounced later. So I think there is an editor involved in some places - perhaps one who dozes off from time to time because of the monotone performance. These problems are noted in other books that Robin Eller reads. It's a shame. A work this important deserves a first class narration. The sample reading on the web site does not include any of the bizarre pronunciations.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Incredibly Eye Opening

While the narration is poor, the contents of this book clearly delineate a timeline for each country, territory, and state's involvement in the barbarism of the trade. Additionally, it demonstrates an alternative view to the founding fathers of this country. Eyes open wide!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A riveting, detailed and compelling analysis of slavery, its consequences and impact on contemporary America.

This is a persuasive description of how the Republic developed two irreconcilably different sets of legal, political, social and even communitarian traditions. Like ‘Worse Than Slavery’ and ‘Slavery By Another Name,’ it illuminates those histories that leave one wondering about the roots of such practices as mass incarceration, indiscriminate policing, and the persistence of unequal education, housing and employment...The proof of the quality of this work is reinforced by the realities of today’s America.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book but....

Awesome book that seems to be very well researched. this book expands on topics that I have read in many other books on the subject.

Tge only caveat being is that the authors political leanings paint some of thier conclusions. for example, Antonin Scalia an originalist is not a racist. because One Believes In the founding documents does not mean that one believes that slavery should be brought back.

to be sure many of our founding fathers we're hypocrites but it does not change the truth in The Words which they wrote.

the book was quite long as it seemed to straighten to other parts of History's that would have probably been left two separate books. I would love to reread this book however it's length is an issue for me

all that having been said this book is very well worth the time.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book, painful narration

A very informative book and I learned quite a bit. The narrator has a sweet voice but is not good performer for an audio book. The main thing that bugged me and made listening painful was the relentless mis-pronuciations. These could, and should, have been corrected before the title was released. If that had occurred the narration would be 2-3 stars.

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Great book, not so much with the narrator

narration has mistakes from the text version, they are minor in something soblong. still worth it. book is incredible. I would definitely recommend for any student of our American past.

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Really should have hired a voice actor.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Appreciated the current references to the film, "12 Years A Slave", Michele Obama, Lupita Nyong'o and so on.

Would you be willing to try another one of Robin Eller’s performances?

Sorry no :(

Any additional comments?

This is a well written and researched book giving a unique perspective of our American heritage. The legacy of the common practices of those days are still all over out current legal system. A more engaging voice actor would have really helped this work.

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  • David
  • Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 02-14-18

disappointing book -- bad reader

I was eager for this one, but: 1.) Robin Eller is an incompetent reader. She makes occasional but embarrassing pronunciation mistakes. For her, "venal," for example, rhymes with "fennel." "Liquidity" becomes "liquity." More troublesome -- because she does this constantly -- is her habit of putting THE emphasis ON the wrong syllaBLE. This drives me crazy.

And 2.) the book's title promises that it will concentrate on the history of slave breeding. This is of course an important subject, but, alas, the book doesn't seem really to have much to say about slave breeding.. And what there is relies almost entirely on anecdotal evidence. Now, there is certainly a place for quotations, e.g., from slave narratives, in such a history -- but historians have amassed so much hard data about slavery and the antebellum South, that one is entitled to expect such evidence in a book about slave breeding.

Much of what the book has to say early on about slave breeding comes in the form of a critique of MANDINGO, a sensationalizing 1957 novel about slave breeding. Since no one has read the novel, probably, since 1960 -- and no one has seen the awful 1975 movie since maybe 1976 -- one wonders if a critique of MANDINGO is necessary.

What the book does have -- in spades -- is lurid (but already well-known) detail about the selling of slaves, the whipping of slaves, the diet of slaves, the Amistad incident, the kidnapping of freemen, etc.. There is also a good deal of associated attitudinizing.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Horrible Narrator

I was really looking forward to reading this book but the narrator completely killed me, I only made it an hour or so into the book. There is a ton of incredibly interesting historical information within the book, but I kept drifting off and not paying attention due to the narrator's lack of emotion and complete monotone.