Saturday, January 15, 2011
The American Slave Coast
I am having a new experience. There are two different books that cover the culture(s) of a region for the same era. They employ many of the same source materials, particularly the primary source materials. They are both chronological. They are published by the same press. Twelve years separate their publication. The later one is a narrative history. It ignores the previous one which takes a demographic approach though it too incorporates a great deal of narrative. They don't agree on important points. They are both the books of the moment for this cultural history. There is one place the second book acknowledges the existence of the earlier publication -- and it takes that earlier publication to the woodshed, figuratively speaking. However, I am not convinced that the newer book is right, despite its impeccable sourcing.