Book Reviews

Reviews for A Slave’s Cause:

“Lucidly written, compellingly argued and based on exhaustive scholarship, The Slave’s Cause captures the myriad aspects of this diverse and far-ranging movement and will deservedly take its place alongside the equally magisterial works of Ira Berlin on slavery and Eric Foner on the Reconstruction Era. Ms. Sinha seems to have read just about everything ever written on the subject of antislavery, including diaries, broadsides, speeches and legal arguments by the famous and the obscure alike. It is a measure of her command of the material that even as she leads us through the deepest thickets of antebellum polemics she is rarely dull.”—Fergus Bordewich, Wall Street Journal

“Invites us to take a fresh look at the entire story. It’s an extraordinary story, which asks the reader to re-evaluate the very nature of abolition on both sides of the Atlantic….It is shaped by historical imagination and anchored in extensive research, and will oblige future scholars to rethink the very nature of abolition itself.” —James Walvin, BBC History Magazine

“This well-written and accessible book has many strengths, but Sinha’s able deployment of so many sources makes it outstanding.”—Olivette Otele, Times Higher Education

“A long book, but well worth the investment. I read nearly everything published on the subject, but I still learned something new in every chapter.”—Stephen L. Carter, Bloomberg View

“This important book is poised to become the definitive general history of U.S. abolitionism for decades to come. Exhaustive research, dramatic writing, and ambitiously full coverage make The Slave’s Cause unlikely to be surpassed in scholarship. . . .Monumental.”—David Roediger, Journal of American History

“Manisha Sinha has written the definitive account of abolitionism in American culture. . . . For those looking to understand radical democratic activism in the United States, there is no better place to start than this powerfully argued, thoroughly documented, and beautifully written book”–Corinne T. Field, Journal of American Culture

“Manisha Sinha’s The Slave’s Cause is a tour de force: a timely analytical synthesis of modern scholarship on abolitionism, full of bracing insights and correctives.”—Elizabeth Varon, Journal of the Early Republic

“There is not a more comprehensive and authoritative account of the abolitionist movement than The Slave’s Cause, and it is required reading for anyone hoping to understand America before the Civil War.”—J. Brent Morris, The Historian

“It is difficult to imagine a more comprehensive history of the abolitionist movement. . . . [Sinha] has given us a full history of the men and women who truly made us free.”—Ira Berlin, New York Times Book Review

“A powerfully unfamiliar look at the struggle to end slavery in the United States. . . . The Slave’s Cause is as multifaceted as the movement it chronicles.”—Matthew Price, Boston Globe

“A stunning new history of abolitionism. . . . Placing abolitionism in its international context is just one of the great strengths of The Slave’s Cause. . . . [Sinha] plugs abolitionism back into the history of anticapitalist protest.”—Adam Rothman, Atlantic

“[A] prodigious work of scholarship. . . . Manisha Sinha has cemented in place the last stone in the scholarly edifice of the past half century that has rehabilitated the abolitionists’ reputation.”—James M. McPherson, New York Review of Books

“A powerful, ambitious  work of scholarship. The research is extraordinary. . . . Her prose is also careful and often elegant, her argument bold. . . . Sinha offers us a glimpse of a usable past: a diverse and inclusive story of abolitionism.”—Ari Kelman, Times Literary Supplement

“Manisha Sinha’s comprehensive and narrative-resetting new book gives readers their fullest and most readable account of America’s battle against slavery.”—Steve Donoghue, Christian Science Monitor

“[Sinha’s] research is deep and wide-ranging, and she both reacquaints us with familiar historical figures and introduces us to those who may not be familiar. . . . In recent years the crucial roles of African-Americans in directing and sustaining the movement have been compellingly demonstrated. But no one has made the case as fully as has Sinha.”—Steven Hahn, Chronicle of Higher Education

“[The] long history of the fight to end slavery is brilliantly told in historian Manisha Sinha’s magisterial, The Slave’s Cause.”—Erik J. Chaput, Providence Journal

“This will be the definitive single volume on the history of abolition in the U.S. for the coming generation of scholars. . . . Sinha does what few historians could do—she challenges much of what we have thought about this important movement and essentially rewrites the way we should think of abolitionism.”—James J. Gigantino, American Historical Review

“A Revelatory History of Abolition,” by Fergus M. Bordewich, Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2016

“The Truth about Abolition,” by Adam Rothman, The Atlantic, April 2016

“The Slave’s Cause is a Thorough and Overdue Account of the Abolition Movement in the US,”Christian Science Monitor, February 16, 2016

“Brilliant History of America’s Fight to End Slavery,” by Eric J. Chaput, Providence Journal, August 4, 2016

“The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition by Manisha Sinha, Book of the Week, Times Higher Education, May 19, 2016

“246 Years a Slave” by Ira Berlin, The New York Times, February 28, 2016

“The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition,” Rising Up With Sonali, May 23, 2016

“Dr. Manisha Sinha Points Perception of the Abolitionist Movement in Another Direction,” Diverse Issues in Higher Education May 27, 2016

“Abolitionism and the World It Made,” by Steven Hahn, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 6, 2016

“Who Freed the Slaves?” by Stephanie McCurry, The Nation, September 13, 2016

“Putting Blacks at the Center of Abolitionism in The Slave’s Cause,”The Boston Globe, February 20, 2016

“Book Credits Abolitionists for ‘Radical, Interracial Movement,’”Florida Courier, February 11, 2016 

Book Bag, Manisha Sinha, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition,Daily Hampshire Gazette,February 5, 2016

Reviews for The Abolitionist Imagination:

“An exceptional collection.” -Alexander Tsesis The Journal of American History

“A breathtaking range of intellectual inquiry.” -Jane Dailey Journal of Southern History

Reviews for The Counterrevolution of Slavery:

“Finely written, and compelling book, which early American, political, and southern historians will not want to miss.” -Lorri Glover, American Historical Review

“Boldly argued and powerfully written, Sinha’s The Counterrevolution of Slavery will force students of South Carolina history to reconsider the state’s leaders’ antebellum commitment to republicanism. ” -Charles J. Holden, The South Carolina Historical Magazine

“Forcefully argued and impressively researched reassessment of events leading up to the secession of the southern states in the winter of 1860-1861.” -David Brown, Ethnic and Racial Studies

“Sinha’s is a very detailed study, rigorously researched and powerfully argued.” -Susan-Mary Grant, Reviews in American History

“The Counterrevolution of Slavery is a provocative revisionist history of slavery’s profound influence on politics and ideology in the vanguard of secession, making clear that the Confederates in the attic of antebellum South Carolina were the state’s political leaders, who said what they meant and meant what they said.” -Michael Johnson, Johns Hopkins University

“Likely to become the definitive account of antebellum political culture and ideology in South Carolina.” -Enrico Dal Lago, Journal of American Studies

“Sinha’s book will create much excellent debate and her study should be required reading for historians of the United States.” -Douglas Bradburn, Journal of the Early Republic