"Caitlin Rosenthal's Accounting for Slavery is a study of accounting practices in the large plantations of the late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British West Indies and United States. The first two chapters, which review plantation accounting positions and techniques, reveal the early existence of rich and multifaceted information systems in the plantation economy of the British West Indies. The institution of slavery protected planters against the turnover of labor that industrial factories experienced in the North of the United States, and this, Rosenthal argues, facilitated the turning of human lives into numbers—not just in the prescriptive literature but in everyday plantation management. Such quantification allowed absentee planters to act at a distance. It morally desensitized the managers and tied together the different modalities of control that they enjoyed over enslaved people's lives. [first paragraph]"