- Series: Oxford Paperbacks
- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (October 20, 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195056396
- ISBN-13: 978-0195056396
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 5.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Oxford Paperbacks) Reprint Edition
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"A magnificent work done in the finest tradition of historical scholarship."--C. Vann Woodward, Yale University
"The most eloquent and scholarly book on slavery we now have in English....Here is cross-cultural history at its best."--Virginia Quarterly Review
"A magnificent history of ideas....It will remain a magnificent contribution to intellectual and social history...[and] will be studied for decades to come."--Eugene D. Genovese, Journal of Southern History
"A helpful survey of the origins of the institution and its developments down to the end of the eighteenth century."--The Atlantic
"A large, immensely learned, readable, exciting, disturbing...volume, one of the most important to have been published on the subject of slavery in modern times."--M.I. Finley, The New York Review of Books
About the Author
David Brion Davis is Sterling Professor of History at Yale University and President of the Organization of American Historians. Winner of the Bancroft Prize, the National Book Award, and the Beveridge Award of the A.H.A., he is the author of several books, including Slavery and Human Progress and The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution.
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If you were to take a time machine back to the period just before 1500 and ask and seek to discuss the evils of slavery with an educated European, chances are they wouldn’t understand what you were talking about. You would not understand their lack of understanding. This book explains the acceptance of slavery was a consequence of radically different understandings of nature and society and religion. In short, we and our ancestors of 500+ years back might as well be aliens from different planets.
This book, then, is not a history of slavery but a history of how the western world thought about it. I found this a slow read but not from boredom. Rather every few pages I had to stop and try to get my head around the ideas that are under discussion. Ancient philosophy not to mention theology are not really “my thing” so it took some effort. I suggest you read this book with your IPad nearby in order to access the Wikipedia and other sources. The author provides numerous footnotes and citations which temp diversions and excursions.
The book ends in the decade just before the American Revolution. Although the author doesn’t say as much, it is fairly obvious that the forces leading to the founding of the abolitionist movement, (the French Enlightenment, the Great Awakening and the outcome of the Seven Years War) were also the forces leading to the outbreak of the American Revolution.