Baptist Describes a New Orleans Slave Auction

The following description of a slave auction in New Orleans comes from Edward Baptist’s new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.

The moment was here, the one that made trees fall, cotton bales strain against their ropes, filled the stores with goods, sailed paper across oceans and back again, made the world believe. (p. 94)

This book is fascinating not so much in terms of its central thesis, but in the way that Baptist crafts his narrative. It is at times dizzying and confusing as he illustrates the speed at which this country expanded on the backs of slaves and the interconnectedness of everything that went on domestically and internationally to make it happen. What a ride.

CraterThanks for reading this post. Scroll down, leave a comment and join the conversation. Follow me on Twitter and join the Civil War Memory Facebook group for continuous updates and additional links to newsworthy items from around the interwebs. Stay up to date by subscribing to this blog’s feed. You can also check out my recently published book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder.

3 comments… add one
  • Matt McKeon Sep 8, 2014

    Walter Johnson’s Soul by Soul is an excellent account of the same place and time.

  • TF Smith Sep 8, 2014

    Looks like a useful work.

Leave a Comment