A welcome addition to a public conversation ... Neither as rigorously argued as Sean Wilentz’s No Property in Man nor as original as Manisha Sinha’s The Slave’s Cause, Larson’s sober new book nevertheless repays reading, for it has a good deal to teach those who want to see the American story in overly simplistic terms.
The narrative has clear writing and solid scholarship that does not promote an agenda, leaving the reader to imagine broader implications and slavery’s legacy. Scholars can find minor points to quibble over but, overall, it comes across as an honest effort ... A solid narrative highlighted with vignettes of people such as Olaudah Equiiano and and Benjamin Bannaker. Larson does not kick ghosts but rather he seeks to understand and explain this past.