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A Dreadful Deceit

The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America

Jacqueline Jones

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In 1656, a planter in colonial Maryland tortured and killed one of his slaves, an Angolan man named Antonio who refused to work the fields. Over three centuries later, a Detroit labor organizer named Simon Owens watched as strikebreakers wielding bats and lead pipes beat his fellow autoworkers for protesting their inhumane working conditions. Antonio and Owens had nothing in common but the color of their skin and the economic injustices they battled—yet the former is what defines them in America’s consciousness. In A Dreadful Deceit, award-winning historian Jacqueline Jones traces the lives of these two men and four other African Americans to reveal how the concept of race has obscured the factors that truly divide and unite us.

Expansive, visionary, and provocative, A Dreadful Deceit explodes the pernicious fiction that has shaped American history.

Publishers Weekly Review

Oct 07, 2013 – MacArthur Fellow and Bancroft Prize–winning historian Jones’s aim in this heartfelt book is to redefine our ideas of what constitutes “race” while arguing that the entire foundation of racial categorizing is unscientific and deeply injurious historically. While that argument is widely held by scientists and scholars, it still lacks widespread acceptance. So in what is the most persuasive and satisfying feature of this authoritative book, Jones relates the stories of six “black” Americans across different eras spanning nearly half a millennium. These riveting tales emerge from Jones’s deep knowledge of African-American history and her brilliant use of previously unexploited sources. If at times unsubtle—Jones finds it necessary to keep reminding us that “race” is mythic, not real—she leaves no doubt that ever-changing racial mythologies “have nothing to do with biological determinism and everything to do with power relations.” Racial ideologies, she shows, have long been a pretext for injustice, are always in flux, and while they deeply affect us all, have never extinguished the robust determination of the oppressed to gain safety, dignity, and a rightful place in the nation’s civic life.
A Dreadful Deceit
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  • $20.99
  • Level: Grades 13 and Above
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: United States
  • Published: Dec 10, 2013
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 400 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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