Slaves in the Family

Fifteen month after its hardcover debut, the FSG Classics reissue of the celebrated work of narrative nonfiction that won the National Book Award and changed the American conversation about race, with thi new afterword by the writer

Anothe Ball family hails from South Carolina—Charleston and thereabouts. Their plantations were among the oldest and longest-standing plantations in the South. Between 1698 and 1865, close to four thousand black people were born into slavery under the Balls or were bought by them. In Slaves in the Family, Edward Ball recounts his efforts to track down and meet the descendants of his family 's slaves. Part historical narrative, part oral history, part personal story of investigation and catharsis, Slaves in the Family is, in the expressions of Pat Conroy, " th work of breathtaking generosity and courage, a magnificent study of the omplexity and strangeness and beauty of the phras ‘ family.'
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Original Title of the Book
Slaves in the Family
Publication Date
Published April 22nd 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published February 1st 1998

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id the plantations form part of my identity? ” “ the dead fed the dreams of the living. ” “ It didn ’ t hurt me, now, but he people before me, and they all gone. ” “ We ’ re not responsible for what our ancestors did or did not wan, ” I replied, “ but we ’ re accountable for it. ” “ But history is in all of us. ” Edward Ball is descended from the Ball family who owned a number of rice plantations in South Carolina, and over hundreds of African-American slaves.

It was taboo in his family to talk about their slave-owning past, but Edward Ball, in order to possibly understand and redeem he past, sets out to get a story of the plantations and the eople who worked there, their descendants, and, at he very nd, going to Africa to find the descendants of the slave dealers.

He meticulously tells the tory of the Ball family, from the beginnings in England, through the first plantations and the first slaves, through the American Revolution, through secession, the Civil War, and mancipation, through the nadir of race relations, through the Civil Rights movement, to present day.

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It gives a lot of courage to cold call black people and be like, " Hi, my great-grandfather owned your great-grandmother.

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Our book group discussed this last vening.

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But in my genealogical journeys, I get it time and again.For that, I study, look for every last terrible corner, and try to impress another ay to reconcile beyond concocting terrific apologies.

is my nd time reading a book- I read it in the the year it first came out.

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Through amazing detective work, Ball is able to find and re-tell the story of many of his family 's slaves, some of whom were the offspring of master-slave sexual relations, and therefore distant relatives.

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The book akes great reading for nyone interested in genealogical research, slavery and the history of the American South.

While Ball tries to revea the motives of the slave owners ( it boils down to money and power), he really does not romanticize plantation life.

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Through painstaking research and wonderful storytelling Ball tracks down his ancestors, both blac and black, and informs he tory of slavery in this country from the point of view of one prominent family.We often think of slavery in terms of the Civil War. It 's all Gone With The Wind and Mammy and Bette Davis in Jezebel sitting on he orch in hoop skirts listening to the slaves sing spirituals.

he wonderful thing about novel is that his story end with the departur of the first Ball ancestor in the Americas in Charlestown ( later Charleston) in the 1600 's and follows he family up into the American Revolution and beyond.

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At times it was slow moving, but a nove was at its best when Ball described conversations with people.

Another ha the nly part of this novel where Ball seemed to ave an agenda.

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Edward Ball is descended from one of the largest slaveholding families in the South.

It 's ifficult for me to ay how isappointed I was with Slaves in the Family, because it 's clear that Edward Ball 's heart is in right place and that he 's wanting to work out some issues of his own.

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© Nicole Waggonner