The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$21.47
Qty:1
  • List Price: $30.00
  • Save: $8.53 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Trade in your item
Get a $3.38
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 4, 2014


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Deckle Edge
"Please retry"
$21.47
$17.36 $17.06


Frequently Bought Together

The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation + The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823 + The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Oxford Paperbacks)
Price for all three: $91.28

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (February 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307269094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307269096
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The dehumanizing of enslaved Africans is the “problem of slavery” on which Davis focuses in the conclusion of his trilogy on slavery in Western culture, analyzing the psychology and immorality of slavery from antiquity to modern times. Davis explores the period from the Haitian Revolution, when enslaved Africans liberated themselves (triumphing over the mighty British and French militaries), to the Thirteenth Amendment and the end of American slavery, if not American racism. Haiti’s slave rebellion inspired American freedmen and slaves and horrified whites with the prospect of a population determined to be free and possibly vengeful for their dehumanization. In between, the abolition movements in the U.S. and elsewhere challenged the very concept of slavery in “free” and democratic societies even as the growth of scientific racism and the colonization movement highlighted the complexity of liberating a people not exactly welcome as free on American shores. Davis, a Pulitzer Prize winner, explores the underappreciated role of former slaves in the push for abolition and the influence of religion in the debate about the morality of enslavement. This is a well-researched and broad historical and global analysis of the complex motives and actions on all fronts, highlighting the transcontinental tension between efforts by white society to dehumanize and the fight by freedmen and slaves for freedom, full humanity, and citizenship. --Vanessa Bush

Review

Praise for David Brion Davis and The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation:

"Less a political historian than a moral philosopher . . .  his analysis . . . is subtle, wide-ranging and consistently judicious . . . Moral progress may be historical, cultural and institutional, but it isn’t inevitable. All the more reason this superb book should be essential reading for anyone wishing to understand our complex and contradictory past."
Brenda Wineapple, The New York Times Book Review 

"With this book, David Brion Davis brings to a conclusion one of the towering achievements of historical scholarship of the past half-century. . . Davis is fully aware of the moral ambiguities involved in the crusade against slavery, the process of abolition and the long afterlife of racism. Nonetheless, in a rebuke to those historians today who belittle the entire project of emancipation, he insists that the abolition of slavery in the Western Hemisphere was one of the profoundest achievements in human history, “a crucial landmark of moral progress that we should never forget.” His monumental three-volume study helps to ensure that it will always be remembered."
Eric Foner, The Nation

"Davis has spent a lifetime contemplating the worst of humanity and the best of humanity—the terrible cruelty and injustice of slavery, perpetuated over centuries and across borders and oceans, overturned at last because of ideas and ideals given substance through human action and human agency. He concludes his trilogy by contemplating whether the abolition of slavery might serve as precedent or model for other acts of moral grandeur. His optimism is guarded. ‘Many humans still love to kill, torture, oppress, and dominate.’ Davis does, after all, describe the narrative of emancipation to which he has devoted his professional life as ‘astonishing.’ But even in his amazement, he has written an inspiring story of possibility. ‘An astonishing historical achievement really matters.’ And so does its history."
Drew Gilpin Faust, The New York Review of Books

"In the years since The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, Mr. Davis has published nine books, including Inhuman Bondage (2006), a synthesis of the rise and fall of New World slavery. . . His former students can be found at virtually every major research institution in America, in disciplines ranging from law and literature to history, political science and public health. Now, almost 50 years after the first volume appeared, Mr. Davis concludes his trilogy with The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation. A brilliant capstone, the book extends Mr. Davis's story still further—to encompass the growing anti-slavery agitation in 19th-century America and the efforts of free blacks to urge forward the cause of abolition and equality even as the forces of reaction sought to protect the status quo. Like its predecessors, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation is deeply researched and possesses great narrative power."
John Stauffer, Wall Street Journal

"Davis’s slavery investigation grows from a question: Why, at a certain moment in time, did people begin to recognize a great moral evil to which they had been blind for millennia? To understand the antislavery story, Davis traces a confluence of forces: religious dissent, coming especially with the Quakers; a shift in economic relations, with the Industrial Revolution; political revolutions, which rearticulated the meaning of freedom. In a discipline often constrained by geography and epoch, Davis’s books cross both. . . A feat of intellectual tenacity. . . a book that feels more personal and essayistic than its predecessors."
Marc Parry, The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Remarkable erudition . . . the continuing engagement with Davis’s most important insight — that the emergence of an abolitionist movement in the 18th century amounted to one of the most astonishing moral transformations in human history. . .  Rather than drift with the scholarly tide, he swam against it. . . Unfailingly subtle and insightful . . .  The shimmering achievement of Davis’s great trilogy."
James Oakes, The Washington Post 

"Nowhere are Davis's gifts as an intellectual historian better displayed . . . Davis's body of work has shown repeatedly that ideas and individuals matter in the struggle to transform morals. . . a timely reminder that the legacies of slavery require ongoing discussion and engagement."
—Louis P. Masur, The American Scholar

"Davis's work will continue to resonate with an audience far beyond his field."
—Scott Spillman, The Point Magazine

"Beginning with understandings of what it meant to be human in light of a developing culture of dehumanization, with its principals and practices of treating slaves as though they were domesticated animals, Davis unravels the moral and physical struggle--the debates, the rebellions, the wars--that produced what he considers ‘probably the greatest landmark of willed moral progress in human history’ . . . Another must read from Davis for any generally informed reader interested in the development of the modern Atlantic world or of the Western concept of humanity. Serious students will necessarily pore over this volume for decades to come."
—Library Journal

"Davis, a Pulitzer Prize winner, explores the underappreciated role of former slaves in the push for abolition and the influence of religion in the debate about the morality of enslavement. This is a well-researched and broad historical and global analysis of the complex motives and actions on all fronts, highlighting the transcontinental tension between efforts by white society to dehumanize and the fight by freedmen and slaves for freedom, full humanity, and citizenship."
—Booklist (starred)

"A distinguished historian brings his monumental trilogy to a stirring conclusion... the triumph here is the sympathetic imagination he brings to the topic... Deeply researched, ingeniously argued."
Kirkus Review

"
This magisterial volume concludes... Davis’s three-volume study of the intellectual, cultural, and moral realities of slavery in the West since classical times... In stately prose and with unparalleled command of his subject, he offers a profound historical examination of the termination of servitude in the West... this is a book of surpassing importance.
Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review

“Concluding his magisterial trilogy on slavery, David Brion Davis discovers, questions, and provokes, with the philosophical as well as historical acuity that has made him one of America’s few truly great historians.”
—Sean Wilentz
 
“David Brion Davis has completed his distinguished trilogy on the problem of slavery in Western culture with a powerful and provocative analysis of the process of emancipation in societies as dissimilar as Haiti, the British West Indies, and the United States.  His chapters on colonization projects and on the Anglo-American antislavery movements are full of fresh insights and richly textured interpretations.”
—James M. McPherson
 
“This third and concluding volume on slavery and abolition continues the monumental work of scholarship that Davis began more than one-half century ago.  As always, the author’s interpretations of the historical events and his insights into them are superb and The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation is truly pathbreaking in its extensive discussions of the important role played by free blacks and by slaves.” 
—Stanley L. Engerman
 
“No scholar has played a larger role in expanding contemporary understanding of how slavery shaped the history of the United States, the Americas and the world than David Brion Davis.”
—Ira Berlin

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
6
4 star
0
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 7 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Adam Hochschild on February 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book is a rich, fascinating--and highly readable--conclusion to Davis's great trilogy. His body of work on slavery has left all the rest of us who have studied or written about this subject in his debt. Most historians tend to have one particular angle of vision that becomes their hallmark, but not Davis. I cannot think of another historian who comes at his subject so thoughtfully from so many different angles: the history of ideas, the influence of religion, psychological dynamics, the closely-examined lived experience of slaves, their masters, and slavery's opponents across centuries, countries and continents.
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert F. Murdock on March 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Outstanding scholarship. Not for light reading. The footnotes are extensive and essential to a complete understanding of the text. The information is far and beyond anything I have ever read in any history class or other text. It is a sobering analysis of the issues related to slavery and current attitudes concerning race relations.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gderf on July 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This may be the best history of the abolition movement available. Even though Davis doesn't neglect the ethics and cruelty of slavery it's much better than the usual maudlin coverage of those issues. To generate this extensive detailed reference work he's generous in citing other authorities like Bernard Fogel, Eric Foner, Walter Johnson, and Amanda Foreman. It focuses on the morality, brutality and economic viability of slavery.

Most interesting is the economic analysis which I'm not sure I agree with. He shows how Slavery in the Western Hemisphere was a very profitable enterprise and extrapolates that to a consensus that without the CW slavery in the USA would likely have persisted well into the twentieth century. He points out that an immoral economic system can be profitable and viable. For this case I think he places too much emphasis on the high price of slaves and on demand from expansion into Texas. If price outstripped productivity that could have proven to be a bubble. He cites many authoritative studies, anti-bellum and modern, to substantiate his point, but curiously omits Halpern Helper, who I had thought was influential in his day. He does go back to Ben Franklin who said that slavery was more expensive than free labor. He emphasizes the importance of free blacks in demonstrating the utility and groundless fears that inhibited emancipation.

The colonization movement is tracked as Davis follows the politics of the ACS and its popular leaders and advocates from Madison to Lincoln. Also interesting is the controversy over gradual versus immediate emancipation. There seems little about the idea of compensation. Davis points out that the EP only freed slaves of those not loyal to the USA. More was needed, resulting in the Thirteenth Amendment.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ernest schusky on May 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Intellectural history has no objective standards by which to be judged. Howver, Davis' command of all possible historical records (as far as I can judge), considerable oral history work, and familiarity with most secondary sources makes his book an outstanding source for understanding the "problem" of slavery in the age of Emancipation.
Essentailly, the problem is how did the slave holding states, England and South American as well as the US, shift so dramatically from a world view that slavery was morally justified as well as a necessity to a view that it was evil and replaceable with free labor.
The issue, of course, is extremely complex, but Davis manages to make it comprehensible. Equally impressive is how he demonstrates that Blacks played a vital role in this transformation. That contribution alone should insure his book a place among the best on slavery and as a landmark among works of intellectual history.
Not an easy read but a most informative one.
ernestschusky.com
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?