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The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation (The Problem of Slavery)

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  71 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Winner of the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction 

Shortlisted for the 
2014 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature

From the revered historian, the long-awaited conclusion of the magisterial history of slavery and emancipation in Western culture that has been nearly fifty years in the making.

David Brion Davis is one of the foremost historians of th
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2014)
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Mar 28, 2014 Socraticgadfly rated it it was amazing
Great, great book. Belongs next to the likes of Eric Foner's "Reconstruction" on bookshelves.

Davis tackles how issues such as colonization related to gradualism, and immediatism later on, in emancipation. In terms of the US, he also looks at the slave revolt on Saint Domingue (Haiti), British emancipation (and colonization on Sierra Leone before the US started the Liberia colonization) and more, and their effects on the US.

Among the biggest takeaways? Davis encourages us, especially us of more l
May 31, 2015 Christine rated it it was amazing
This book pulled on me to learn and evaluate parts of history about which I had limited understanding. I am confident I would learn more by reading it again. Some of the areas of particular importance to me were on the idea of recolonizing emancipated slaves, the false narrative surrounding the volume of escaped slaves, the religious ideals of abolitionists, and the beginnings of respectability politics.
Nancy Mott
Mar 05, 2015 Nancy Mott rated it it was amazing
A monumental finish to historian David Brion Davis's massive telling of the Problem of Slavery: in Western Culture (book 1); in the Age of Revolution (book 2) and finally in the moral triumph of the human spirit that brought about emancipation and the abolishing (for the most part) of human bondage.

I discovered it accidentally (fortuitously!) when needing a book to read, not having gotten to the library, I happened upon this wonderful book and downloaded it.

Davis weaves the story back and forth
James Hemby
Mar 02, 2016 James Hemby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating history of the elimination of slavery in the US. This book provided me with a substantially greater understanding of the American slavery issue of the 19th century as well as invaluable context in the forms of the role of slavery in the economic power of the South, impacts of slave rebellions in the Caribbean on US perspectives, European abolition effects on the US and vice versa, and various proposed approaches to actually implement emancipation in the US. Most improbably, I read th ...more
Jun 28, 2014 Martin rated it it was amazing
This superb study is the last of Davis's trilogy on the problem of slavery. It examines what he considers one of the most important benchmarks of moral progress in human history: the abolishment of Anglo-American chattel slavery in the 19th century. This progress came at enormous cost in the United States in the Civil War death toll of more than 650,000 people.

His chapters on animalization/dehumanization are fascinating, and his analysis resonates today as white "ownership" of blacks is challeng
This book is the final instalment of a trilogy that began nearly fifty years ago. It is hard to believe that an 86 year old can still produce a book of such magnitude, but that should teach us never to slight the learning and experience of our elders. The other instalments in the trilogy were very good, but this one is the best, though I might only be saying that because it deals with the period that I am most interested in (c. 1830-65).
Nov 23, 2014 Bfisher rated it really liked it
Brings together various threads - the dehumanization of the slave's image in modern slavery, the impact of the Haitian Revolution, colonization and the ACS, the shift to demands for immediate emancipation, self-emancipation, British emancipation, the key role of free blacks in agitating for emancipation, the view of emancipation in Britain as it evolved over the period between British emancipation and the American Civil War.
Sandy Grant
May 31, 2014 Sandy Grant rated it liked it
It's starting to bog down a bit in all the details about the Haitian Revolution. But I know next to nothing about that, and it was a turning point.
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David Brion Davis is an American historian and authority on slavery and abolition in the Western world. He is the Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, and founder and Director Emeritus of Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. He is a foremost intellectual and cultural historian. The author and editor of sixteen books, and frequent c ...more
More about David Brion Davis...

Other Books in the Series

The Problem of Slavery (3 books)
  • The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture
  • The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823

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