In this groundbreaking work, Michael Tadman uses countless previously untapped manuscript sources to establish that all levels of white society in the antebellum South were deeply involved in a massive interregional trade in slaves. Documenting black resilience and the pervasive indifference of slaveholders toward slaves and their families, this book has profound implications. This new paperback edition of Speculators and Slaves offers a substantial new introduction that advances a major thesis of master-slave relationships. By exploring the gulf between the slaveholders' self-image as benevolent paternalisis and their actual behavior, Tadman provides a critique of currently influential theories of close accommodation and paternalistic hegemony.
Drawing heavily on primary sources, Tadman (economic and social history, U. of Liverpool) reconstructs the scale and organization of the interregional slave trade, and interprets the significance of slave sales and forced family separations for the values and cultures of masters and slaves. He suggests not a smooth process of accommodation, but a situation of essentially conflicting worlds. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)