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Books > 0801401011
  1. The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture
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  2. The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (6 reviews)
    Price R3137.00

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Winner of several national awards including the 1967 Pulitzer Prize, this classic study by David Brion Davis has given new direction to the historical and sociological research of society's attitude towards slavery.
Davis depicts the various ways different societies have responded to the intrinsic contradictions of slavery from antiquity to the early 1770's in order to establish the uniqueness of the abolitionists' response. While slavery has always caused considerable social and psychological tension, Western culture has associated it with certain religious and philosophical doctrines that gave it the highest sanction. The contradiction of slavery grew more profound when it became closely linked with American colonization, which had as its basic foundation the desire and opportunity to create a more perfect society. Davis provides a comparative analysis of slave systems in the Old World, a discussion of the early attitudes towards American slavery, and a detailed exploration of the early protests against Negro bondage, as well as the religious, literary, and philosophical developments that contributed to both sides in the controversies of the late eighteenth century. This exemplary introduction to the history of slavery in Western culture presents the traditions in thought and value that gave rise to the attitudes of both abolitionists and defenders of slavery in the late eighteenth century as well as the nineteenth century.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Even though this is a scholarly book, it is very readable. What I learned about slavery is that the thinking that perpetuated it for many thousands of years is still with us. Slavery flourished long before Classical Greece. Then Aristotle "reasoned" that some people were meant to be slaves. It became the norm in Western Culture. Most people believed this was just the way the world worked. This view was never seriously challenged until the mid eighteenth century. The book taught me that just because something is a tradition, be it religious or otherwise, does not make it right. It also taught me that the we as a culture have not yet overcome slavery.
Wonderfully informative, and seems to be written as intended: to provide a foundation for understanding slavery in the United States. In this book Davis reveals that the modern notion that American slavery was sui generis can only be maintained by an ignorance of history. Because Davis is not just a historian, but a moral philosopher as well, he examines attitudes toward slavery down through history. Though he does not say so, one can conclude that presence of emancipation and equality as widespread social ideals are unprecedented in history. I look forward to reading the next volume in Davis's trilogy on the problem of slavery.
The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture by David Brion Davis, first published in 1967, is a masterpiece; one of the full works I would not hesitate to recommend to someone. A study not only of slavery, but of religion and philosophy.
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