16 of 32 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863 (Historical Studies of Urban America) (Hardcover)
This book provides a good overview of blacks (slave and free) in New York. It's a very good reference (encyclopedic) book.
My main problem with it is that Leslie M. Harris, the author, relies heavily (if not entirely) on secondary sources. The book, then, is nothing more than a patchwork of various other more scholarly works. Hence, finding the actual primary source (i.e. court decision, council minutes, etc) proves extremely difficult.
I do not recommend this book for advanced students. If, however, you're interested in an easy read and don't care about sources, this is the book for you.
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Initial post: Jun 27, 2007 1:37:07 PM PDT
Patrick Rael says:
This is simply not true. Professor Harris does offer an ambitious and sweeping narrative, and this at times synthesizes existing scholarship, as a good book should. But she also makes use of sources no one has mined before, such as the records of the African Free School and Colored Orphans Society. The reviewer above also apparently missed the extensive section focusing precisely on the court records deemed absent; Harris's use of notorious criminal cases is one of the most innovative parts of the work. See for yourself!
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2007 1:55:07 PM PDT
Thank you Professor Rael for your corrective of Speedy Reviewer's rather hasty review. And thank you for your own insightful work: "Black Identity and Black Protest in the Antebellum North."
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