slavery
The review complained Edward Baptist's book did not offer an 'objective history of slavery'Getty

The Economist, the prestigious weekly current affairs magazine, has apologised after publishing a book review about slavery that complained it represented all black people as "victims" and their white owners as "villains".

The review of Edward Baptist's non-fiction book The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism was heavily criticised after its author wrote that it did not offer an "objective history" of slavery.

The review, which did not have a by-line like all Economist articles, attempted to argue that not all slaves would have been severely abused as some their owners had a "vested interest in keeping their 'hands' ever fitter and stronger to pick more cotton".

"Some of the rise in productivity could have come from better treatment," the author added.

In the final few lines of the review, the author wrote: "Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy."

There were further complaints after the article featured a photo of Lupita Nyong'o's character from the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave with the caption: "Patsey was certainly valuable property".

Following the huge outcry over the review, the Economist apologised for the offence caused and said black slaves in the US were never "willing participants and beneficiaries of that evil".

In an editor's note, the Economist added: "There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so. Slavery was an evil system, in which the great majority of victims were blacks, and the great majority of whites involved in slavery were willing participants and beneficiaries of that evil.

"We regret having published this and apologise for having done so."

The magazine said they will be keeping the review online in the interest of transparency.

The author of the book said the review still proves there are people in the world who believe slavery was a "mild, paternalist institution".

He told The Wire: "Many of them are powerful. And their ideas still influence public policy and public discussion of race. So it is a good thing to flush out the ideas and reveal them for what they are."