Book Review Defends Slavery - Internet Is Not Having It.
When a small review becomes a massive blunder.
Every so often the stars align and the entire Internet finds a cause to collectively support or admonish. Yesterday just so happened to be one of those days.
The Economist, in a review of historian Edward E. Baptist's "The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism", decided to do the unthinkable: They expressed their disappointment that the author didn't really give a fair chance to slave owners. After all, slaves surely weren't the only victims in this situation, right?
Another unexamined factor may also have contributed to the rise in productivity. Slaves were valuable property, and much harder and, thanks to the decline in supply from Africa, costlier to replace than, say, the Irish peasants that the iron-masters imported into South Wales in the 19th century. [...] Mr. Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all of the blacks in his books are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; this is advocacy.
The review has since been withdrawn and replaced with an editor's note apologizing for the gaffe. Unfortunately for them, the damage had already been done. The majority of readers of were rightly incensed, and they decided to take to social media to write their own book reviews as if they were working for The Economist themselves. The results are, as predicted, hilarious.
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