Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2019
This is a book that upends what one might have assumed about "genteel" antebellum women who had slaves in their households and properties to labor. Many of these women were not the fluttery, vapid social butterflies who were minimally impacted by slavery; on the contrary, they were often VERY involved owners who bought, sold, traded, and punished the slaves that they often owned in their own right, not a husband's or father's, and like any other property, they were capitalized to extract the most value, even if that meant separating families. These women were not the gentler sex in this regard, as often they were the equal of white men in brutalizing their slaves' bodies and minds. Women, in those days, were perceived as maternal creatures who took care of their slaves as they would children, which was hardly ever the case. This was disturbing reading for me, and ripped away the illusion that women could be trusted to behave better due to their maternal instincts. That, and the fact that these people considered themselves God-fearing Christians, which portrays this type of Christianity in a terrible light.