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In this broad-ranging book, the pre-eminent authority on the history of slavery meditates on the origins, experience, and legacy of this "peculiar institution." David Brion Davis begins with a substantial and highly personal introduction in which he discusses some of the major ideas and individuals that have shaped his approach to history. He then presents a series of interlocking essays that cover topics including slave resistance, the historical construction of race, and the connections between the abolitionist movement and the struggle for women's rights. The book also includes essays on such major figures as Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as appreciations of two of the finest historians of the twentieth century: C. Vann Woodward and Eugene D. Genovese. Gathered together for the first time, these essays present the major intellectual, historical, and moral issues essential to the study of New World slavery and its devastating legacy.