In The Half Has Never Been Told, historian Ed Baptist reveals the alarming extent to which slavery shaped our country politically, morally, and most of all economically. Until the Civil War, Baptist explains, 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 readers to reckon with the violence and subjugation at the root of American supremacy.