From Calabar to Carter's Grove: The History of a Virginia Slave Community - Lorena S. Walsh It is difficult for historians to pinpoint and tell the story of individual slaves in the American colonies. Most slaves were not given the educational opportunities to allow them to document their daily lives. And there are few journals available to adequately illustrate individual slave histories. But by looking at the archaeological evidence collected from former slave enclaves, Lorena S. Walsh was able to give a hypothetical illustration of the lives of slaves who lived in Carter’s Grove in the colony of Virginia during the early colonial period. Due to the small quantity of evidence available, she is often reduced to using already documented occurrences and generalizations about the daily life of a Virginia slave.Walsh uses ledger books, transaction notes, and inventories of slaves to trace the extended family unit of the slaves of Carter’s Grove. She shows how their lives changed through the years, going from bound slaves working back breaking work on a tobacco plantation, to being separated and scattered throughout the United States.The slaves she chose to examine originate from the Burwell labor force. They worked in close contact with indentured servants and newly arrived slaves from Africa. Walsh gives a background on the areas that these new slaves most likely came prior to captivity. She describes the kind of conflicts they might have had with slaves who were more adapted and accustomed to the slave life. These new and old slaves were placed together by masters, in the hopes that they would thrive and prosper without falling ill from the harsh conditions of slavery.Many of these groups intertwined their beliefs, customs, and language to form a new slave identity. Evidence presented by artifacts such as handmade pottery, glass beads, and tobacco pipes lead to the conclusion that these groups intermixed culturally because they show features spanning from African cultures and incorporating American art forms. Although the slave life imprisoned them, these groups were able to inadvertent ways to express their identity and exercise their limited freedom in a way in which was empowering to future generations and to their own emotional well being.The book is very beneficial in proposing possible explanations and hypothetical answers on slave life. But due to the lack of concrete evidence, Walsh is often reduced to beginning to these explanations with “possibly,” “mostly likely,” and other phrases which would reduce the validity of the statements. T.H. Breen of Northwestern University states in his review (Journal of Interdisciplinary History vol. 30, 1999 pp. 135-136) that “Walsh’s bold claims for a multigenerational group analysis seem unfilled.”The sources she used consisted mainly of primary documentation and archaeological findings. She traces the family units and the group as an extended family unit itself through the different generations and where they lived, died, and created families of their own. Her secondary sources seem to be used to restate to the reader a proposed idea of how they lived. Overall, the book is adequate in showing the changes within the group, but it does not appear to inform the reader of anything they could not in a general history book.