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Slaves in the Family

Ball, Edward

1,900 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0374265828 / ISBN 13: 9780374265823
Published by Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A.: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1998
Used Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Hill Country Books (Ctr Sandwich, NH, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Slaves in the Family

Publisher: Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A.: Farrar Straus & Giroux

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Explores the slave-holding dynasty of Elias Ball, a South Carolina plantation owner, the history of slave uprisings, scandals, and violence, and the memories of the descendants of those slaves more than one hundred years after emancipation. 50,000 first printing. First serial, The New Yorker. Tour.

Review:

Writer Edward Ball opens Slaves in the Family with an anecdote: "My father had a little joke that made light of our legacy as a family that had once owned slaves. 'There are five things we don't talk about in the Ball family,' he would say. 'Religion, sex, death, money and the Negroes.'" Ball himself seemed happy enough to avoid these touchy issues until an invitation to a family reunion in South Carolina piqued his interest in his family's extensive plantation and slave-holding past. He realized that he had a very clear idea of who his white ancestors were--their names, who their children and children's children were, even portraits and photographs--but he had only a murky vision of the black people who supported their livelihood and were such an intimate part of their daily lives; he knew neither their names nor what happened to them and their descendents after they were freed following the Civil War. So he embarked on a journey to uncover the history of the Balls and the black families with whom their lives were inextricably intertwined, as well as the less tangible resonance of slavery in both sets of families. From plantation records, interviews with descendents of both the Balls and their slaves, and travels to Africa and the American South, Ball has constructed a story of the riches and squalor, violence and insurrection--the pride and shame--that make up the history and legacy of slavery in America.

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