Download The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism Audiobook

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism Audiobook, by Edward E. Baptist Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Edward E. Baptist Narrator: Ron Butler Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2014 ISBN: 9781483030654
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In The Half Has Never Been Told, historian Edward E. Baptist reveals the alarming extent to which slavery shaped our country politically, morally, and most of all, economically. Until the Civil War, our chief form of innovation was slavery. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from their slaves, giving the country a virtual monopoly on the production of cotton, a key raw material of the Industrial Revolution.

As Baptist argues, this frenzy of speculation and economic expansion transformed the United States into a modern capitalist nation. Based on thousands of slave narratives and plantation records, The Half Has Never Been Told offers not only a radical revision of the history of slavery but a disturbing new understanding of the origins of American power that compels listeners to reckon with the violence and subjugation at the root of American supremacy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This book, quite simply, offers the fullest and most powerful account we have of the evolution of slavery in the United States from the Revolution to the Civil War. Baptist’s account is eloquent, humane, passionate, and necessary.”

    Edward Ayers, Bancroft Prize–winning author of In the Presence of Mine Enemies

  • “This book reveals a dirty secret about American business, and how commerce first boomed before the Civil War. Baptist unearths a big, nasty story: in the North and the South, slavery was the tainted fuel that kindled the fires of US capitalism and made the country grow.”

    Edward Ball, New York Times bestselling author of Slaves in the Family

  • “Baptist’s work is a valuable addition to the growing literature on slavery and American development…Baptist has a knack for explaining complex financial matters in lucid prose…[The Half Has Never Been Told’s] underlying argument is persuasive.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[An] ambitious new economic and social history of antebellum America…The overwhelming power of the stories that Baptist recounts and the plantation-level statistics he’s compiled give his book the power of truth and revelation…The Half Has Never Been Told is a fresh…take on a history we thought we knew too well…Baptist adds many new, stark, and essential elements to that story. His most important achievement is to show us how the ‘dismal science’ of economics served to make the lot of slaves even grimmer.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Baptist writes with verve and a good eye for the dramatic.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Baptist has written a book that truly deepens and broadens our understanding of slavery…Professional historians and lay readers will pore over this book for years to come. Essential for all readers interested in American history and the history of slavery.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Baptist renders history and economics with the power of prose that seeks to tell a fuller story than has been told of American slavery…An insightful look at US slavery and its controversial role in the much-celebrated story of American capitalism.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A dense, myth-busting work that pursues how the world profited from American slavery…A complicated story involving staggering scholarship that adds greatly to our understanding of the history of the United States.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Baptist’s exhaustively researched, elegantly written, and provocatively argued book details the connection between the growth of the institution of human bondage and economic innovations from 1783 to 1861.”

    Providence Journal

  • “Cornell University historian Baptist delivers an unapologetic, damning, and grisly account of slavery’s foundational place in the emergence of America as a global superpower…Baptist’s chronicle exposes the taint of blood in virtually all of the wealth that Americans have inherited from their forebears, making it a rewarding read for anyone interested in USA’s dark history.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Baptist skillfully weaves the history of slavery and the history of American capitalism to explain how modern society wouldn’t exist without slavery. Narrator Ron Butler’s voice is perfect for such a powerful argument. His deep voice grabs the listener’s attention, and his delivery, especially his use of emphasis, is great for the long haul. His cadence reveals a strong understanding of the sentence and even the paragraph. The words flow so smoothly that listeners will be hard pressed to believe it’s Butler speaking and not the author himself.”


  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014
  • A New York Times bestseller

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About the Author

Edward E. Baptist is an associate professor of history at Cornell University. Author of the award-winning Creating an Old South, he lives in Ithaca, New York.

About the Narrator

Ron Butler is a Los Angeles–based actor, Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator, and voice artist with over a hundred film and television credits. Most kids will recognize him from the three seasons he spent on Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP. He works regularly as a commercial and animation voice-over artist and has voiced a wide variety of audiobooks. He is a member of the Atlantic Theater Company and an Independent Filmmaker Project Award winner for his work in the HBO film Everyday People.