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The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation by Daina Ramey Berry (review)

The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the... book revi ews The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation. By Daina Ramey Berry. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2017. Pp. 262. Cloth, $27.95.) Daina Ramey Berry’s latest work is a history of the value of enslaved peo- ple in early America through every stage of life. She incorporates elements of the new economic history of American slavery with a methodology all her own. Rather than placing “the market” at the core of her argument, Berry centers her work on the thoughts, emotions, and ideas of enslaved people. In addition to being an economic history, then, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh is also “an intellectual history of enslaved people’s thoughts, expressions, feelings, and reactions to their own commodification” (2). The book is organized around the human life cycle, with chapters on preconception, infancy and childhood, adolescence and young adult- hood, midlife, superannuation, and the afterlife of the body. In addition to looking at the effects of age, Berry analyzes how differences in historical period and region could dramatically alter the values assigned to enslaved people at different life stages. For instance, she notes the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation by Daina Ramey Berry (review)

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

book revi ews The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation. By Daina Ramey Berry. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2017. Pp. 262. Cloth, $27.95.) Daina Ramey Berry’s latest work is a history of the value of enslaved peo- ple in early America through every stage of life. She incorporates elements of the new economic history of American slavery with a methodology all her own. Rather than placing “the market” at the core of her argument, Berry centers her work on the thoughts, emotions, and ideas of enslaved people. In addition to being an economic history, then, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh is also “an intellectual history of enslaved people’s thoughts, expressions, feelings, and reactions to their own commodification” (2). The book is organized around the human life cycle, with chapters on preconception, infancy and childhood, adolescence and young adult- hood, midlife, superannuation, and the afterlife of the body. In addition to looking at the effects of age, Berry analyzes how differences in historical period and region could dramatically alter the values assigned to enslaved people at different life stages. For instance, she notes the

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Mar 6, 2018

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