Milton Meltzer Kirkus Reviews - Essay

Kirkus Reviews

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[In All Times, All People: A World History of Slavery] Meltzer surveys the history of slavery from ancient times, pointing out that it has existed on all continents (in Africa before Europeans got involved) but in most societies was considered a matter of poor luck rather than inferior birth. He sees racism here developing as an excuse for slavery among free people dedicated to the rights of man. He tells readers that slavery exists today in some underdeveloped parts of the world "where people are hungry, ignorant, and without a voice in government." However, his discussion of how we can get rid of slavery emphasizes laws against it and mentions that richer nations helping poorer nations "could make a difference too"—which doesn't come close to addressing the issues. As a history, though, this younger, easier summary clearly benefits from the author's having researched and thought out the subject for his substantial two-volume Slavery…. Here that information is neither condensed nor skimmed, but assimilated into a strong introduction that makes its points unemotionally with descriptions and examples.

A review of "All Times, All People: A World History of Slavery," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1980 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLVIII, No. 20, October 15, 1980, p. 1358.