Our Historical Myopia: The Other Slavery by Andrés Reséndez

My most recent book review for Chicago Review of Books is of The Other Slavery by Andres Resendez, a critical work of nonfiction exploring indigenous slavery

Chicago Review of Books

9780547640983_78e7bFor most of us, the word “slavery” has become exclusively figurative, unless we’re talking about the Atlantic slave trade that preceded the Civil War or present-day human trafficking. But very few of us understand the physical and psychological reality of slavery, or how it served as one of the primary foundations for Western civilization as know it. In The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, however, Andrés Reséndez lifts the veil of time to dispel “our historical myopia” of the enslavement of Native Americans.

Beginning in the Caribbean before moving into Mexico and the U.S., Reséndez doesn’t just tell the history of Indian enslavement in North America: he also shows us how the national identities of the United States and Mexico were built upon the enslavement of indigenous people.

According to Reséndez, the techniques of control used during African-American slavery—and subsequently during Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era—were developed and refined from…

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