Blassingame focuses on the slave culture and uses such sources as folk songs, fugitive wanted posters, slave interviews and correspondence, diaries, and memoirs (from slaves and slave holders) to bring insight on life on the plantation. The author offers an extensive, well-organized bibliography which, alone, makes this book valuable.
The chapters cover the topics of enslavement and acculturation, the Americanization of the slave and the Africanization of the South, slave culture, family, rebels and runaways, stereotypes and institutional roles (i.e. the "Sambo" role), plantation realities, and slave personality types. This work also includes appendixes on such subjects as African words, numerals, and sentences used by former slaves, and a comparative examination of total institutions. The book is well-written and also offers numerous illustrations.