Winner of the 2015 Avery O. Craven Prize from the Organization of American Historians
Winner of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize
A groundbreaking history demonstrating that America's economic supremacy was built on the backs of enslaved people
Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution — the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward E. Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy.
Told through the intimate testimonies of survivors of slavery, plantation records, newspapers, as well as the words of politicians and entrepreneurs, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history.