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Review for Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry, The Untold Story of an American Legend by Scott Reynolds Nelson - Book Report/Review Example

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The main view in this book is that the music tradition associated with John Henry originated in an actual man and he goes further to state that these origins lie in the context of the employment of the black conflict workers, who had been freed after the Civil War. The book is a…
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Book review for Steel Drivin Man: John Henry, The Untold Story of an American Legend by Scott Reynolds Nelson
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Download file to see previous pages He also examines various versions of the songs co John Henry while bringing his knowledge about how the railroad is constructed into the book.
Even though the author portrays how knowledgeable he is, his knowledge in history remains disassembled from the broader historical setting. He can make connections on how objects today can be associated with events like slavery but he gives the impression that he is not able to position the same events in a bigger developmental setting of the political economy as far as settler colonialism and chattel slavery is concerned (Nelson 8).
Nelson notes that the stories that were narrated by the older whites in the South portray a better picture of the past as compared to that of the older blacks along with historical records (Nelson 22). Oddly, authors like Nelson should be taken with a grain of salt since he does not do more than represent a particular perception of a society that entitles him what it has denied others the same way as the elderly whites that he interviewed did in their time as railway workers. There is an instance where instead of associating unreported deaths of black workers to the bigger setting of white supremacy, he focuses on how vital it is for historians to collect and make reports of a variety of historical documentation (Nelson 26).
The speculative association he makes over the real life events of John Henry giving it some level of efficiency ties the author’s initial account together. Even though the author is convinced that Henry was a real man, a convict who worked on the railroad and passed away during Reconstruction, he goes short of a true assessment concerning the role of white supremacy prior to and subsequent to the Civil War. In developing his story, the author does not identify the observable which, is the use of captive black labour in the development of the economy and sustenance country pre and post-Civil War. Prior to the civil, the black people were ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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