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on 30 April 2013
This book, that is written in such light and lucid language deals with a topic that is everything but lightly. I founded it absolutely shocking to read. The lack of respect towards fellow human beings, the deplorable moral and the complete lack of any empathy on display here is truly shocking. As we all have learned in school, with the acceptance of the 13 Amendment Slavery ended in the Unites States. And movies as Lincoln seem to drive this message home, once more. Of course, this was everything but what really happened. James M. McPherson is already touching on this in Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, but does not more than mentioning it. Blackmon however wrote a book about it.

After the civil war ended, Slavery was indeed abolished, but interestingly not every form of slavery. That was not done until 1952. Roughly the book deals with the period between this 1 years and describes in great deal, often from witness accounts, records and diaries what happened. The south, absolutely convinced that the cotton industry could only survive if slavery or better said free labor of African-Americans would be maintained. The solution to this was that they made being unemployed a crime. So every African-American that was walking on the street, sleeping in a deserted train wagon was basically eligible to be arrested. Upon arrest they were put in shackles and convicted during a fake trial, upon which the state had the right to sell the person to a private owner, who then deployed them for various forms of hard labor. Usually in the most atrocious circumstances as for example in a charcoal mine. With basically nowhere to go, no way to get out, there was only one way and that was to work of the sentence, usually with near or fatal consequences.

What was surprising me the most was that everybody was in it, and that police, sheriffs, judges, land owners, industrial owners and the president (I knew that someone as Woodrow Wilson was a notorious racist, but I didn't expect it from Theodore Roosevelt as we'll) all were doing their share in maintaining this form of slavery creating an absolutely hopeless situation for the African American population. I hope that this book will serve to bring these criminals to justice and restore the narrative of what really went on. It is interesting to keep in mind that at the same time the United States President was preaching for the League of Nations and did they liberate countless people from a similar fate. This high act of humanism was unfortunately not further deployed in their own country.
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on 19 May 2013
I hadn't realised how cruel and sadistic one human being could be to another during peacetime. The evil treatment of black slaves by white slave owners and their minions was happening in a so-called Christian society, all in the name of making money and maintaining power. Its perpetuation into the twentieth century was made easy by corrupt laws designed to protect those holding the power. The author writes extremely well about this extremely dark period in US history. It is a fascinating book which I would highly recommend to anyone with a curiosity about oppression in society.
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on 10 March 2013
I have studied Slavery and the American Civil War for a number of years. This book relates to a period when people were treated no better than they might have been before the American Civil War.
I read an article only yesterday whereby a journalist went out to research "how many slaves are working for me". The staggering number came back at 53. This number included people that are being exploited in sweat shop clothes manufacture etc. it highlighted that slavery has not gone away but is still practiced. I wish I could do more than get angry about it.
That said I would recommend this book for anyone remotely interested in finding out what slavery means and if it changes even just one persons views against slavery it will have been a good purchase.
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on 28 March 2014
I had always thought I was reasonably well-informed on Black Americans' struggles for equality; Mr Blackmon's book proved just how wrong I was. I could only read it in small bite-sized sections, as the contents were so genuinely shocking, but for anyone studying history or the story of slavery, this is unmissable.
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on 1 January 2013
This book was a complete eye-opener. It has made me see the history of the black people of America in a completely new light. The whole thesis is brilliantly developed and meticulously researched. The only question is: why has it taken so long for these facts to be brought to light?
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on 31 March 2016
That fact that another 100 years would pass before the African Americans knew any sense of freedom is amazing.
The horrific treatment meted out to them down the years beggars belief.
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on 4 March 2014
proper eye opener very surprised how things so barbaric and cruel with a complete disregard for human LiFE could go on and be ignored till after ww 'll
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on 23 November 2012
Absolutely riveting and spelling binding and shocking .Well researched and written Would recommendit even if you have no interest in the history behind it
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on 11 September 2015
A very hard read.
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on 17 September 2013
I'm English, female, born 1963 and wasnt taught anything about American history at my expensive but useless education. I have finally got a handle on why America is so distraught as a big nation. And even I as a retired therapist cdouldnt see it for real to start with. This book has educated me, on nine different levels.

I can appreciate that I am removed from its realites. But in truth all of us are real in this story. And if you read to the end you get the authers personal involvement too such as it is.

One of the most HONEST books one is likely to read. Lots of big words, even I was glad \I had my Kindle to give me online dictilnary. This is a scholarly work and deserving of everyone.

Let it never ever happen again.

Goddess bless you for you and your family for letting you and supporting you to do this work.

Samantha White, East Yorkshire, England - from the home of William Wilberforce . xxx.
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