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They Were White and They Were Slaves: The Untold History of the Enslavement of Whites in Early America Paperback – June, 1993

3.8 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Independent History; 4 edition (June 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0929903056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929903057
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As other reviewers have noted, this book is a barrage of facts that are a little rambling and disorganized, but this in NO WAY takes away from the interest of the subject matter that is presented in this volume.
Mr. Hoffman presents a rough outline of the history of the enslavement of whites in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Carribean and finally in America from Roman times to the begining of the 20th century. Documented are such details as:
-Slavery in ancient Greece and attitudes towards slaves there
-Arab traffic in white slave to the Middle East
-The Vikings' massive involvement in the slave trade during the middle ages
-White slavery and ethnic-cleansing in Ireland and Barbados under Oliver Cromwell
-Kidnapping of whites in Britain to bring to the Americas
-Child labor and gross working conditions in the mines and factories in America and Britain during the industrial revoloution.
-One of the most disturbing events documented here: the use of "human brooms" as chimney sweeps in England during the 1800's. These might be able to claim the worst status. The orphans who had to climb up chimneys filled with toxic dirt and soot weren't even paid to do so, they were forced to do that work and then BEG for a living.
-White slavery and white slave trade in colonial America. These whites were treated as more expendable then the African slaves because the slave ships had to go out of their way to pick up Africans.
-"Redneck," because whites had to work out in the fields in the sun so their skin would get tanned and burned.
-"Hillbilly," because when they were freed or escaped, the slaves had nowhere to live except in remote places in the backwoods and especially APPALACIA.
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Format: Paperback
I purchased this book, with great reluctance, as I thought it might be "racist" in nature. However, I found it most enlighting. It reveals, that slavery was never about race, but rather about labor. Labor was looked upon as a commodity to be bought and sold. My interest was from a genealogical and historical point. It alowed me to locate lines of my family both white, Irish and English that were sold on the auction block, in Barbados in the 1600's, along with other slaves who were black. It will further give great insight in the abusive child labor of 1800 England. For any and all it is a great read.
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Format: Paperback
It's a shame that people have been able to negatively affect the rating on this book, due to either their lack of actually reading the book, or their lack of surrounding historical context. Most of the bad reviews are from those still wanting to debate whether black slavery was worse than white slavery, which may be debated, but white slavery began many years before black slavery became a viable option. The white slavery system was used as a model for black slavery, and simplified the integration process. The point of this work was to help everyone have true historical context regarding the slavery of whites, and begs the question: why has it been covered up and glossed over? The answer is quite clear.

In this book you'll discover that the British yeoman were kicked off of the land (that they had been farming on for centuries), forced into the city, and persecuted once they became a burden. How to handle the poor became an evolving humanitarian pet project and money maker for the aristocracy. The lives of these poor people meant so little that the government funded merchants to take them off the streets (ie, kidnap them) and sell them in America, making them infinitely more lucrative and equally dispensable. The systems of slavery eventually started migrating into the workhouses (before plantation slavery even ended, enslaving whites in the north) and eventually into the Factory System.

My conclusion: The Factory System, the last phase of mankind's slavery mentioned in this book, has not gone away (especially not in certain countries, ie: China/Foxxcon's factory scandal), it has only changed its appearance in the US and other "First World" countries, balancing human pain and acceptable profit at thresholds determined through evolving "regulations"...
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Format: Paperback
Mention slavery in American history and no doubt you will conjure up visions of middle passage slave ships feeding the rotting black bodies to the sharks, abusive slave owners on southern plantations and perhaps even Kunta Kinta being whipped at the stake for refusing his newly assigned name. Few people would even entertain the notion of white slaves in American history, but Michael Hoffman's 1993 book, THEY WERE WHITE AND THEY WERE SLAVES exposes little known facts about the abhorrent practice of slave owning in America.

Hoffman's books goes far beyond slavery in the United States, however, giving an indepth chronicle of white slavery throughout history. The book begins with the Greeks and continues on with white slavery by the Romans, the Arabs, who also implemented the practice of slave castration, the Franks, Vikings, African Kings, and yes, American colonials and eventually, American Indians.

Hoffman also gives an indepth explanation as to why white slavery in American history has been all but swept under the rug. The book is well written, very well researched and lends critical understanding to anyone who truly wants to have an informed and balanced view of our slavery history.
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