Next Book Club meeting March 25th!
For our next book, we're reevaluating the roots of American capitalism with The Half Has Never Been Told - an account of how Slavery was the primary economic driver of America's ascendance to the world stage. Join us at John Harvard's to challenge long-held beliefs and think broadly about how local institutions can impact the entire world.
Book: The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward Baptist
Place: John Harvard's 33 Dunster St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Date & Time: Sunday, March 25th, 6:30 PM
As historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Until the Civil War, Baptist explains, the most important American economic innovations were ways to make slavery ever more profitable. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from enslaved African Americans. Thus the United States seized control of the world market for cotton, the key raw material of the Industrial Revolution, and became a wealthy nation with global influence.
Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history. It forces readers to reckon with the violence at the root of American supremacy, but also with the survival and resistance that brought about slavery's end—and created a culture that sustains America's deepest dreams of freedom.