The initial chapters are an excellent survey of the status of slaves in various countries during the 15th and 16th centuries, but on the whole, the book represents an earnest effort to cover too much. The author's major premise is that Negro achievement through the centuries has contributed to the greatness of this country with anecdotes about notable economic evidence from the colonial days forward to the middle of the 19th century even if the contribution most often came from unwilling slaves. While the premise is never wholly abandoned, the chapters that cover the Civil War and the Reconstruction Era are closer to being straight chronologies of events. The depressing results of punitive restrictions placed on Negro civil rights after the Civil War and the tendency of American reformers to concentrate on the welfare of immigrant groups, rather than the relatively more helpless Negro Americans, are well handled. However, there is nothing for the period between the formation of the NAACP in 1905 and the civil rights movement of the 1950-60's which is disposed of in a few pages. As unsatisfying and wandering as this reading of Negro history is, the dearth in adequate material predicates a better reception than the book might otherwise expect. Selected Reading List.