The Economist Withdrew Its Book Review That Criticised An Author For Pointing Out That Slavery Victims Were Black

Economist slavery review bookScreenshot via AmazonA portion of the book’s cover

A review of a book about the economic impact of slavery went live on The Economist website Thursday, and the general response was shock and outrage.

In “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism,” Cornell University history professor Edward Baptist argues that forced black labour led to huge gains in cotton production, making states, and the U.S. in general, wealthier than ever.

The review, however, calls Baptist’s work “advocacy” and “not history” because he only relied on the “testimony of a few slaves.”

In one of the most inflammatory lines, the reviewer claims that “Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery” because “almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.”

A sarcastic hashtag, #Economistbookreviews, even appeared on Twitter as part of the backlash, as Gawker noted.

In an editor’s note Friday, The Economist apologized and withdrew the review, still keeping a cached version in the interest of transparency. “There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so,” it wrote.

Read the publication’s full statement:

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