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Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life Hardcover – April 14, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0195160406 ISBN-10: 0195160401

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195160401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195160406
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.5 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,945,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Historian Deyle reveals the malignant heart of that most "peculiar institution," American slavery. Deyle's focus is the domestic buying and selling of human beings after the abolition of the international slave trade in 1808; the economics and unique practices of that macabre local marketplace; and the varied individuals who engaged in and profited from the trade. As Deyle, assistant professor of history at the University of California, Davis, points out, the vast majority of Southerners who bought and sold slaves were not professional dealers, but rather owners who traded slaves only when necessary: when they found themselves with either a short supply or a surplus of labor power. Deyle spells out how the cold, sterile economics of slavery led to the arbitrary separation of children from parents, wives from husbands. Deyle also makes clear the enormous profit to be had, especially in the market for healthy adolescent boys with years of hard labor ahead of them. Babies born to slave parents, fed a meager diet for 12 or 13 years, multiplied a minimal investment by hundreds. Most ironically, Deyle notes, the vast majority of slave traders were "good" people, devout Christians, respected citizens. In his first book, Deyle ably situates the important role of the domestic slave trade within the economy of the new and rapidly growing United States. B&w illus. (May)

From Booklist

Deyle focuses on the informal and business organization aspects of the domestic slave trade. From this perspective, he offers insights into the realities of chattel slavery, how it helped to shape our nation and continues to impact us to this very day. Deyle reviews the dynamics of the shift from the U.S. being an importer of slaves to a "breeder" nation. He interweaves the various political and economic forces that contributed to different viewpoints on the efficacy of slavery. The end of the slave trade, revolutionary ideals, and the technological advancement of the cotton gin all transformed the nation and its perspective on domestic slavery. The sale of slaves became the lifeblood of southern agriculture. As cotton became king, dominating the economy of the lower South, slaves took on more value there than in the upper South, increasing the interregional conflicts that led to the Civil War. Deyle also examines the political forces that led to abolitionist movements in the North as well as the actions of slaves that challenged the domestic slave market. Vernon Ford
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By pj on September 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I picked up Carry Me Back based just on the subject and I expected a kind of standard treatment of slave trading as a business: so many people were sold to such and such states etc. This book does contain some of that but it has much more. Carry Me Back has an important argument about the nature of American slavery and sectionalism within the South. The book puts the slave trade at the center of American slavery showing how the money generated by the trade both reinforced slavery and led to doubts about its future. Deyle also shows how the increasing commodification of slaves altered the very way in which slavery was perceived by slaveowners and non-slaveowners. This is a must have for anyone who wants to understand American slavery.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ann G. Serow on July 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I read Steven Deyle's book, Carry Me Back, on the recommendation of a review by Benjamin Schwarz in the June 2005 edition of the Atlantic Monthly. Schwarz praised Carry Me Back as "a fine book - by far the best work to date on the subject." Schwarz also pointed out that Deyle "takes a broad view" of the domestic slave trade and "he approaches the subject with nuance." I found the book persuasively argued and a pleasure to read. Although my doctorate is in political science, I am a history teacher and I strongly recommend Carry Me Back to any student of US history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David S. Lott on April 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent coverage of the the extensive internal slave trade in the American south. It's an "academic" book but accessible to the general reader. Well written without academic pretension prose but with high quality research.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written,easy to read, Lots of good details. One criticism might be that it gets a little repetitious. Maybem not repetition of the same incident but in reporting very similar incidents that could have been left out or all covered in one chapter.
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