White Over Black

American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812
Winthrop D. Jordan
With new forewords by Christopher Leslie Brown and Peter H. Wood
Paperback price: $47.50
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Publisher: Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: OIEAHC
Cloth/Hardcover Publication Date: 02/1968
Reprint Date: 02/2012
Pages: 696
Paperback ISBN: 9780807871416
Paperback Publication Date: 02/2012
Ebook ISBN: 9780807838686


In 1968, Winthrop D. Jordan set out in encyclopedic detail the evolution of white Englishmen’s and Anglo-Americans’ perceptions of blacks, perceptions of difference used to justify race-based slavery, and liberty and justice for whites only. This second edition, with new forewords by historians Christopher Leslie Brown and Peter H. Wood, reminds us that Jordan’s text is still the definitive work on the history of race in America in the colonial era. Every book published to this day on slavery and racism builds upon his work; all are judged in comparison to it; none has surpassed it.

About The Author

Winthrop D. Jordan (1931-2007) taught history at the University of Mississippi. His books include Tumult and Silence at Second Creek: An Inquiry into a Civil War Slave Conspiracy and White Man’s Burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United States.

Christopher Leslie Brown is professor of history at Columbia University. He is the author of Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism, for which he won the Frederick Douglass Book Prize.

Peter H. Wood is history professor emeritus at Duke University and author of Strange New Land: African Americans, 1526-1776, among others.


The Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, Phi Beta Kappa (1968)

Bancroft Prize, Columbia University Libraries (1969)

The Francis Parkman Prize, Society of American Historians (1969)

National Book Award (1969)


“This monumental study is a tremendously important block, fascinating and appalling, of American social and cultural history. . . . Though the study was begun years before the current civil rights agitation, it is quite indispensable for a full appreciation of the realities and wellsprings and the dilemmas of the contemporary struggle.”–The Phi Beta Kappa Senate award committee for the 1968 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award

“White Over Black will stand as a landmark in the historiography of this generation. Its richness and insight, its sensitive, penetrating analysis of the unspoken as well as the explicit, its union of breadth with depth, make it a brilliant achievement.”–Richard D. Brown, New England Quarterly

“One of the most important historical works of the past 40 years, contributing to the cultural shift in white thinking that made possible the election of Barack Obama.”–Gordon S. Wood, The Wall Street Journal

“The author has put simple solutions and flashy theories aside and brought to his task a patience, skepticism, thoroughness, and humility commensurate with the vast undertaking. He combines these qualities with imagination and insight. The result is a massive and learned work that stands as the most informed and impressive pronouncement on the subject yet made.”–C. Vann Woodward, The New York Times Book Review

White over Black remains a signal achievement in American historiography, a rich analytical and stylistic bequest to early American scholarship.”–William and Mary Quarterly

“Winthrop Jordan’s masterpiece is as essential to the study of slavery and the development of race in the United States as it was when it first appeared. Jordan’s insightful analysis, marvelous writing style, and deep humanity shine through on every page of White over Black. Christopher Brown’s and Peter Wood’s deft and elegant new forewords are the perfect complement to this most pivotal work in American historiography.”–Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard University

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