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Twice the Work of Free Labor: The Political Economy of Convict Labor in the New South [Book Review]

Kousser, J. Morgan (1998) Twice the Work of Free Labor: The Political Economy of Convict Labor in the New South [Book Review]. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 28 (3). pp. 484-485. ISSN 0022-1953. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20131008-160645012

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Abstract

Applying to the postbellum South the Marxist penological assumption that legal punishment is "distinct from, and relatively unconnected with, crime," Lichtenstein's deeply researched, well-written book contends that convict leasing and the chain gang "played a central role" in the development of the southern economy and the region's race relations (253, xviii). Although relying heavily on slavery's whips and chains, both of these attempts to economize on prison costs were fostered, according to Lichtenstein, not by benighted southern reactionaries but by "progressives," often from outside the region and often connected with the national government. African-American prisoners kept the coal, brick, and turpentine industries in Georgia (the focus of the study) profitable before 1908, when the abolition of leasing convicts to private companies became a major "progressive reform." Thereafter, the chain gang-over-whelmingly black but with an increasing percentage of whites in the 1920s-was essential in the expanding and paving of rural roads that were necessary for the commercial, industrial, and agricultural development of the state.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://www.jstor.org/stable/205459PublisherBook review
http://www.versobooks.com/books/738-twice-the-work-of-free-laborPublisherBook publisher
Additional Information:© 1998 The MIT Press. Book review of: Twice the Work of Free Labor: The Political Economy of Convict Labor in the New South. By Alex Lichtenstein. New York, Verso, 1996. 254 pp. ISBN: 9781859849910
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131008-160645012
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20131008-160645012
Official Citation:Twice the Work of Free Labor: The Political Economy of Convict Labor in the New South by Alex Lichtenstein Review by: J. Morgan Kousser The Journal of Interdisciplinary History , Vol. 28, No. 3 (Winter, 1998), pp. 484-485 Published by: The MIT Press Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/205459
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41767
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: SWORD User
Deposited On:24 Oct 2013 22:58
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:52

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