Within the covers of a single volume, Robert Fogel dramatically presents the rise and fall of that 'peculiar institution," American slavery. Over the past quarter-century, he has used the latest measurement techniques to explore the mountain of evidence on the lives of the slaves and the world in which they lived.
Fogel finds that slaves on the large plantations generally had more chance to form communities, yet they faced incredibly hard and even life-threatening work. He includes absorbing assessments of the efforts of slaves to resist their enslavement and to shape their own culture.
He then turns his hand to the surprising growth of the abolitionists from a handful of inspired, committed religious people, not given countenance by their church or government, into a powerful political force that captured the presidency. Fogel delves deeply into the moral currents that first made slave owners some of America's most widely admired leaders and then led Americans to irrevocably embrace the antislavery ideology that initially seemed so questionable to the great majority.
[from the jacket]