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"A fascinating book on history and consequences of slavery. The research [is] impeccable and it [is] organized in a very readable and easy to grasp fashion."

"Writing with clarity and grace, Abruzzo makes a persuasive case... Her book will fascinate not only scholars exploring slavery and sectionalism but also historians examining the emergence of new definitions of cruelty and benevolence at the advent of the modern world."

"Abruzzo's lucidly written and stunningly original analysis, encompassing debates over the slave trade, colonization, emancipation, and the impact of Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, challenges present-day assumptions concerning the evident nature of ethical judgments."

"Polemical Pain is highly recommended as a first-rate work of intellectual history. Abruzzo has written a richly detailed history not easily captured by the limited space of this review. The result is an important book that is well researched and impressively argued, and that greatly advances our knowledge about the national quarrel about slavery through the language of humanitarianism. It is widely applicable and will surely find a diverse audience."

"A significant reappraisal of Civil War causation and an important contribution to the broader history of the emergence of the modern United States."

"Abruzzo offers a detailed and comprehensive examination of the relationship between American debates over the morality of slavery and evolving national and international notions of the meaning and limits of humane behavior... It is a very illuminating book."

"A well-rounded discussion."

"Polemical Pain: Slavery, Cruelty, and the Rise of Humanitarianism will interest scholars of pro- and antislavery thought as well as humanitarianism."

"Highly readable and certainly teachable."

"[A] thought-provoking study... Polemical Pain makes an important contribution."

"An important work of scholarship, especially for those interested in the history of slavery or humanitarian reform."