Coupon
The Price for Their Pound of Flesh : The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation
by Daina Ramey Berry


Overview - Groundbreaking look at slaves as commodities through every phase of life, from birth to death and beyond, in early America

In life and in death, slaves were commodities, their monetary value assigned based on their age, gender, health, and the demands of the market.  Read more...


 
Hardcover
  • $27.95

Add to Cart + Add to Wishlist

In Stock

FREE Shipping for Club Members
 
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary

 
 
New & Used Marketplace 25 copies from $15.99
 
Download

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.
 
 
 
 

More About The Price for Their Pound of Flesh by Daina Ramey Berry
 
 
 
Overview
Groundbreaking look at slaves as commodities through every phase of life, from birth to death and beyond, in early America

In life and in death, slaves were commodities, their monetary value assigned based on their age, gender, health, and the demands of the market. The Price for Their Pound of Flesh is the first book to explore the economic value of enslaved people through every phase of their lives--including preconception, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, the senior years, and death--in the early American domestic slave trade. Covering the full "life cycle," historian Daina Ramey Berry shows the lengths to which enslavers would go to maximize profits and protect their investments. Illuminating "ghost values" or the prices placed on dead enslaved people, Berry explores the little-known domestic cadaver trade and traces the illicit sales of dead bodies to medical schools.

This book is the culmination of more than ten years of Berry's exhaustive research on enslaved values, drawing on data unearthed from sources such as slave-trading records, insurance policies, cemetery records, and life insurance policies. Writing with sensitivity and depth, she resurrects the voices of the enslaved and provides a rare window into enslaved peoples' experiences and thoughts, revealing how enslaved people recalled and responded to being appraised, bartered, and sold throughout the course of their lives. Reaching out from these pages, they compel the reader to bear witness to their stories, to see them as human beings, not merely commodities.

A profoundly humane look at an inhumane institution, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh will have a major impact how we think about slavery, reparations, capitalism, nineteenth-century medical education, and the value of life and death.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780807047620
  • ISBN-10: 0807047627
  • Publisher: Beacon Press
  • Publish Date: January 2017
  • Page Count: 256
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.19 pounds


Related Categories

Books > History > African American
Books > Social Science > Slavery
Books > Business & Economics > Economic History

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-12-05
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this financial recapitulation of black bodies and souls, Berry, associate professor of history and African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas at Austin, examines how slaveholders ascribed pecuniary worth to women, men, and children. Slavery took many forms across the antebellum U.S., but all enslaved people experienced their reduction to the status of chattel, bought and sold at their owners will. Yet surprisingly little scholarship has examined the monetary value of these individuals, whose worth increased from infancy through adolescence, peaking at the height of their productive and reproductive capacities, and declining steadily to the point where the elderly were considered nearly valueless. Upon their deaths, they might regain some financial significance, as the bodies of many were sold to medical schools for purposes of dissection. Crucially, Berry also delves into the annals of slave communities to explore the emotional strategies by which the enslaved resisted their reduction to an exchangeable commodity, centering their lives on spiritual beliefs that defined the soul, rather than the body, as the true location of their individuality. Berrys groundbreaking work in the historiography of American slavery deserves a wide readership beyond academia. (Feb.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews