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Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made Paperback – Unabridged, January 12, 1976
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"Without modern peer as an historical narrative, as a sensitive functional analysis of a major region and period of American society in general, and the Afro-American community in particular." --The New Republic
"Altogether a first-class historical work, enhanced by a good, forthright style" --The New Yorker
"Genovese has done more than any other American historian to life this tortured subject out of its culture-bound parochialism." --C. Vann Woodward, The New York Review of Books
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Top Customer Reviews
Genovese has done us all a great service and we should be immensely grateful to him for producing this masterpiece on one of the most unpleasant periods of American history.
Even with some of the correctly pointed out shortcoming noted by other reviewers, Roll, Jordan, Roll still deserves a place in the Panthenon of American Historical Scholarship -- along side John Hope Franklin's From Slavery to Freedom.
I strongly disagree with other reviewer's that the author's conscious racist bias has somehow seeped in, flawed, colored and otherwise helped frame the context. To the extent this is true at all, it is almost certainly done unconsciously. However, to the author's credit, it must be pointed out that time after time he has drawn a wide berth around the context (one reviewer referred to this as over-contextualizing) just so that the reader can decide for himself what the true nature of the substance is. The scholarship in this volume is so cleanly done that a charge of racist bias frankly is almost incongruous.
For instance in discussing southern paternalism (referenced by an earlier reviewer), the section is prefaced with the following introductory paragraph:
"Cruel, unjust, exploitative, oppressive, slavery bound two peoples together in bitter antagonism while creating an organic relationship so complex and ambivalent that neither could express the simplest human feelings without reference to the other."
The author then goes on to say that:
"Southern paternalism, like every other paternalism, had little to do with Ole Massa's ostensible benevolence, kindness, and good cheer.Read more ›
Even as a synthetic work more than three decades old, 'Roll, Jordan, Roll' remains an impressive work filled with big ideas and pathbreaking themes. Its willingness to examine the worldview of both master and slave in a comparative framework constituted a fruitful first step in understanding the relational complexities of power to culture. Attempting to go beyond the works of Abtheker, Gutman, and Stampp, Genovese's insistence on resurrecting the ghost of U.B.Read more ›
One of his most striking observations that I can still rember reading even after five years is his concept of paternalism and how masters and slaves viewed the concept differently.
Masters felt it was their duty to take care of their "children" the slaves by providing food and certain privilages, like whisky on Christmas and New Years. In return, masters expected obedience, but even more crucually, love in return. Slaves on the other hand saw those "privilages" as rights and would act up if certain privilages were taken away. When emancipation came, Genovese argues, that masters were really quite emotionally hurt when their slaves decided to run away--the masters came to see themselves as the only way that their "children" could survive. The hurt was even more acute when the slaves joined up with the union army to attack the very plantations and masters that took care of them. One can easily see how this feeling of ungratefulness could lead to cruelty and violence in the south following the civil war.
When I was in college a few years back, this book was seen by my professors as _the_ final word on the subject of 19th century slave culture
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book gets tedious. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for.Published 14 months ago by Daddy Dave
This is the most thorough history of slavery you will ever read.Published 15 months ago by Gary Ratcliffe
This book is a classic when it comes to slave master relationships in the American South. I read this book when I was in college. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Xerxes
Geovese's account of American slavery encompasses many aspects of daily life, and is praiseworthy for its attempt to establish the agency of enslaved individuals in shaping their... Read morePublished on August 8, 2013 by Anonymous
This is a piece of history and I am very happy with the condition of this book. Thanks A Lot!Published on July 12, 2013 by Deirdre H Dziadkowiec
This is one of the most important works on the subject of slavery. I think that understanding the culture of the United States at the time of the civil war is necessary to... Read morePublished on May 17, 2013 by Elizabeth Nall