The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

20 09 2014

Earlier this month,The Economist published a short review of Professor Edward Baptist’s forthcoming book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.The unsigned review was unsympathetic to Professor Baptist’s account of antebellum slavery, which was written from the perspective a left-of-centre critic of capitalism.


The review generated intense criticism from academic historians, journalists, and others. The Exchange, the BHC’s blog, has helpfully compiled links to some of the blog posts and articles published in response to the review.

Jim Downs, ” ‘Big Wheel Keep on Turnin’ ‘: Slavery, Capitalism, and The Economist,” The Huffington Post
“History, Hashtags, and the Truth about Slavery,” Chronicle of Higher Education
Matthew Yglesias’s extended commentary, on Vox
Jonathan Wilson, review, “Another Kind of Blood: Edward Baptist on America’s Slaver Capitalism,” The Junto (published before the Economist review)
Hector Tobar, review, LA Times
Ellora Derenoncourt, “The Slaver’s Objectivity,” The Jacobin
Greg Grandin, ” ‘The Economist’ Has a Slavery Problem,” The Nation
Fergus M. Bordewich, review, Wall Street Journal

Edward Baptist responded to the Economist review here:

“What the Economist Doesn’t Get about Slavery–and My Book,”Politico
Baptist, “The Economist Review,” Talking Points Memo
Baptist, “How slavery haunts today’s America,” CNN
Baptist, “The Economist’s review of my book reveals how white people still refuse to believe black people about being black,”The Guardian

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19 08 2017
Koyama on Counterfactual History | The Past Speaks

[…] quality. To provide an example of amateurish counterfactual analysis, Koyama mention Ed Baptist’s controversial book The Half Has Never Been Told, which argues that almost 50% of US GDP in 1836 was due to slavery. […]

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