In 1698, Elias 'Red Cap' Ball arrived in Charleston, South Carolina to claim his inheritance: part of a plantation and twenty-five slaves. He went on to forge a powerful slave-owning dynasty which lasted until Abolition. In Slaves in the Family, Edward Ball, a direct descendant of Elias, tells the true story of the people who worked on his ancestors' lands - of the wealth and privilege, the violence and oppression, the dynastic struggles and sexual exploitation. It is a unique and moving portrait of five generations of blacks and whites living side by side.
'A kind of white-black Roots... Out of an extraordinary ragbag of research, interviews, travel notes, impressions and anecdotes, Ball has constructed a splendid detective-story narrative with an impressive range of characters. He leaves you wanting to know more... a most intriguing, imaginative and very readable book.'
Richard Gott, Independent