This book basically represents history before the Civil War. The author tried to create an aura or picture on how the country’s two different labor systems affected our society. The author reiterates that the free market of the North and the South’s slave system greatly affected the economy, society, culture and politics of our nation (Levine, 1992). Levine narrated the causes of Civil War and elaborated what was the driving force of so many people that committed themselves to the cause of freedom.
Both North and South had reasons as to why they tried to free themselves from oppression during the time. The slaves from the South exerted efforts to oppose the bondage while the workers from the North (mostly farmers, laborers, etc. ) gave their support for free soil and liberating labor principles. As the historian that he is, Levine tried to remember that the slavery issue superseded the ethnic and economic concerns (of the people) and it made sectional disparity almost as if irreconcilable within the Union’s framework.
This book also gives a stimulating point of views in the lives of the immigrants and laborers. Because of such accounts, he delivered a compact and comprehensive history of the lives of Americans from the American Revolution through the Civil War (Levine, 1992). In the end, Levine argues that the root cause of the war in America is stuck between free-labor and slave-labor systems.
And it is these systems that consequently are responsible for almost every aspect of the economic, social, cultural and political states of America today. The beliefs and ideologies of both North and South served to connect the different groups within each section. Levine succeeded in combining labor and social history to create an easy-read synthesis of the history of pre-Civil War and gave a peek a clear peek of what happened thereafter. Levine, B. (1992). Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of Civil War: Hill and Wang.