A landmark history: the sweeping story of the enslavement of tens of thousands of Indians across America, from the time of the conquistadors up to the early 20th century. Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as Andrâes Resâendez illuminates, it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. There was no abolitionist movement to protect the tens of thousands of natives who were kidnapped and enslaved by the conquistadors, then forced to descend into the "mouth of hell" of eighteenth-century silver mines or, later, made to serve as domestics for Mormon settlers and rich Anglos. Resâendez builds the case that it was mass slavery--more than epidemics--that decimated Indian populations across North America. New evidence, including testimonies of courageous priests, rapacious merchants, Indian captives, and Anglo colonists, sheds light too on Indian enslavement of other Indians--as what started as a European business passed into the hands of indigenous operators and spread like wildfire across vast tracts of the American Southwest. The Other Slavery reveals nothing less than a key missing piece of American history. For over two centuries we have fought over, abolished, and tried to come to grips with African-American slavery. It is time for the West to confront an entirely separate, equally devastating enslavement we have long failed to see truly.--Adapted from dust jacket.
This book is exceptionally well researched, yet it does not read like a dry textbook. Yes, it's a fairly academic read, in that it's rich in detail, but the writing is alive with texture and emotion. Resendez takes us back to an America most of us wouldn't recognize, to a time when owning a person was somehow justified as a Christian act of kindness. People disguised greed and bigotry as a necessary and righteous behavior, enabling themselves to steal Indian children and put them to work in the name of God.
Resendez takes us from the early struggles with Mexico, up through the Civil War. Most of the focus here is on the American Southwest and Mexico, then over to the American West. He highlights the country's dichotomy in fighting a Civil War to free African slaves, while continuing the enslave a disturbing number of Native Americans. In closing, Resendez briefly discusses our world history of slavery, and how it has never gone away but only evolved into something else to fit the circumstances and skirt the law.
This is a powerful, well written, disturbing, must-read book that should be in every school, a part of every history curriculum, and read by every adult. We need to acknowledge our problematic past if we have any hope of preventing a disastrous future.
Until I read this book I thought I knew all about this subject, having studied
the historical slavery issues one Rome, Greece, Africa, Mexico, South America, and the American Southern States Slavery. But this book concentration on slavery as it ultimately spread to Western American. While I had purchased this book a long time ago and had let it sit on the shelf, I am so happy to have found the time to read this illuminateing treatment on the subject of Slavery in the U.S. West and Southwest.