Economist Apologizes For Review That Slammed Book On Slavery As ‘Advocacy’

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September 5, 2014 9:32 a.m.

The Economist apologized Friday for running a book review that slammed a new history volume about slavery in America as “advocacy” because it portrayed all black slaves as “victims.”

An unbylined review of Ed Baptist’s book “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” that was published Thursday cast Baptist’s account as one-sided. It also dismissed the Cornell historian’s central argument, which was that the expansion of slavery in America fueled the nation’s rise to economic dominance.

“[Mr. Baptist] overstates his case when he dismisses ‘the traditional explanations’ for America’s success: its individualistic culture, Puritanism, the lure of open land and high wages, Yankee ingenuity and government policies,” the review read.

The review went on to conclude that Baptist’s book was biased.

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“Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery,” the review read. “Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy.”

The Economist replaced that review with an apology Friday.

“Slavery was an evil system, in which the great majority of victims were blacks, and the great majority of whites involved in slavery were willing participants and beneficiaries of that evil,” the apology read. “We regret having published this and apologise for having done so.”

The publication said that it was “withdrawing the review,” but included a link to the original text “in the interests of transparency.”

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