Monday, March 2, 2015

Review of Half Has Never Been Told

Trevor Burnard reviews The Half Has Never Been Told in Slavery and Abolition.

"This book has been the subject of a minor scandal as a result of a negative review in the

Economist in which the author was accused of writing advocacy rather than history. An

ensuing controversy led to an apology and the withdrawal of the review. But the

Economist’s withdrawal of a spiteful review does not necessarily mean that this is a good

book. Indeed, it is a poor book. It is badly written, sometimes spectacularly so. It is

inadequately researched and shows a lack of familiarity with economic theory. It is

overblown and full of overstatements. Most disturbingly, however, it is sloppy,

indeed scandalously deficient, in its referencing. These deficiencies are so serious as

to cast considerable doubt about the capacity of the author to present evidence properly.

In short, a lot of the book is just made up, as a deliberate strategy arising from a

flawed research design."

I have had similar thoughts myself.

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