Fatal Self-Deception by Eugene D. Genovese
Slaveholding Paternalism in the Old South

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...the voices of the enslaved are comparatively few and far between.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Slaveholders were preoccupied with presenting slavery as a benign, paternalistic institution in which the planter took care of his family and slaves were content with their fate. In this book, Eugene D. Genovese and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese discuss how slaveholders perpetuated and rationalized this romanticized version of life on the plantation. Slaveholders' paternalism had little to do with ostensible benevolence, kindness and good cheer. It grew out of the necessity to discipline and morally justify a system of exploitation. At the same time, this book also advocates the examination of masters' relations with white plantation laborers and servants - a largely unstudied subject. Southerners drew on the work of British and European socialists to conclude that all labor, white and black, suffered de facto slavery, and they championed the South's 'Christian slavery' as the most humane and compassionate of social systems, ancient and modern.
 

About Eugene D. Genovese

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Eugene D. Genovese is a retired professor of history. He served as chair of the Department of History at the University of Rochester and taught at other institutions. He also served as president of the Organization of American Historians and of The Historical Society and he was a member of the Executive Council of the American Historical Society. He is the author of nine other books, most recently Miss Betsey: A Memoir of Marriage. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (1941-2007) was Eleonore Raoul Professor of Humanities at Emory University, where she was founding director of Women's Studies. She served on the Governing Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities (2002-2007). In 2003, President George W. Bush awarded her a National Humanities Medal; the Georgia State Senate honored her with a special resolution for her contributions as a scholar, teacher and citizen of Georgia; and the fellowship of Catholic Scholars bestowed on her its Cardinal Wright Award. Among her books and published lectures are The Origins of Physiocracy: Economic Revolution and Social Order in Eighteenth-Century France; Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South; Feminism without Illusions: A Critique of Individualism; and Marriage: The Dream That Refuses to Die.
 
Published April 24, 2012 by Cambridge University Press. 252 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction
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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Fergus M Bordewich on Mar 17 2012

...the voices of the enslaved are comparatively few and far between.

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