From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Author and history professor Roediger (The Wages of Whiteness) takes a provocative look at how white elites in the U.S. have managed race for their own political and economic gain, in the process making it one of the defining features of American life. Only a few decades after Europeans' arrival in America, emerging class tensions were leading indentured servants-white and black-to disaffection and, sometimes, rebellion. By enslaving blacks, and giving poor whites dominating roles as overseers or slave catchers, elite whites quashed the emerging fraternity and gave birth to white supremacy. Since, successive generations-from slave holders to factory managers-have manipulated laborers to keep African Americans at the bottom of the heap, while new waves of immigrants secured the benefits of white privilege by distancing themselves from people of color and assimilating. Taking his history through the Clinton era ("How Race Survived Modern Liberalism"), Roediger includes an afterword on "the Obama Phenomenon," finding yet more questions in the African-American senator's triumphant presidential campaign. This rousing, thought-provoking history illuminates the enveloping 400-year-old history of race in America, and the issues he raises are as relevant as ever.
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“A pithy little book ... Remind[s] us that whiteness was built over centuries on a foundation of deceit and confusion and disguised political imperatives.”—Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker
“Starred Review. This rousing, thought-provoking history illuminates the enveloping 400-year-old history of race in America, and the issues [Roediger] raises are as relevant as ever.”—Publishers Weekly
“Scholars and activists will be able to rely upon this book for much needed historical perspective. Based heavily on an acute reading and insightful interpretation of a vast array of the secondary literature, this book is a worthy addition to Roediger’s formidable oeuvre.”—Journal of African American History
“How Race Survived US History
synthesizes a vast secondary literature ... into a simple yet elegant analysis.”—Kornel Chang, Journal of American History