The title of the book this document will review is: "American Slavery, 1619-1877" by
Peter Kolchin, published by Hill and Wang, copyright 1993, 2003.
Mr. Kolchin is a well-known and respected author and professor, recently winning the prestigious Alison award from the University of Delaware. This award is but one in the lengthy list of recognitions awarded him for his work and writings in the study of slavery and southern history. Mr. Kolchin has authored four other books about slavery and southern history, which have also garnered critical acclaim.
The book "American Slavery, 1619-1877" is a survey of American slavery and a probe into the life of those involved in the "peculiar institution" of slavery. It begins with the origin of slavery in the sixteen hundreds, with the importation of slaves from Africa where their free labor was used to establish the agricultural base of the new world. From this point, the author progresses to follow the growth of slavery, not just by quoting statistics, but by providing accounts of conditions of the lives and times of slaves as well as slave owners. The author does not just provide tales of hardship and a damning opinion of slavery, but rather focuses on the facts of daily living of slaves. Mr. Kolchin delves deeply into the strangely interesting dynamic of the slave-master relationship that allows events like a master whipping a slave for working slowly and then that evening gathering all of the slaves for a time of bible reading. The book progresses in a timeline like fashion showing the changes in slave culture and popular opinion of slavery in the north and the south. Furthermore, the author provides comparison to the conditions for American slaves to those of Caribbean and Russian slaves and serfs. Finally, the book elaborates on the downfall of slavery and emancipation of the slaves.
Mr. Kolchin provides a deep investigation into how slavery bega...