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Empire of Cotton by Sven Beckert
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Empire of Cotton

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Empire of Cotton by Sven Beckert
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Nov 10, 2015 | ISBN 9780375713965

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    Nov 10, 2015 | ISBN 9780375713965

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  • Dec 02, 2014 | ISBN 9780385353250

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Winner of the Alfred and Fay Chandler Book Award

“Masterly…. Deeply researched and eminently readable, Empire of Cotton gives new insight into the relentless expansion of global capitalism.  With graceful prose and a clear and compelling argument, Beckert not only charts the expansion of cotton capitalism … he addresses the conditions of enslaved workers in the fields and wage workers in the factories.  An astonishing achievement.”—Thomas Bender, New York Times
“Important…. a major work of scholarship that will not be soon surpassed as the definitive account of the product that was, as Beckert puts it, the Industrial Revolution’s ‘launching pad.’” —Adam Hochschild, New York Times Book Review     
“Breathtakingly comprehensive, informative and provocative.” —Glenn C. Altschuler, Tulsa World
“Persuasive … brilliant … Beckert’s detailed narrative never scants the rich complexity of the cotton trade’s impact on many different societies.” —Wendy Smith, Boston Globe
Empire of Cotton proves Sven Beckert one of the new elite of genuinely global historians.  Too little present-day academic history is written for the general public. ‘Empire of Cotton’ transcends this barrier and should be devoured eagerly, not only by scholars and students but also by the intelligent reading public. The book is rich and diverse in the treatment of its subject. The writing is elegant, and the use of both primary and secondary sources is impressive and varied. Overviews on international trends alternate with illuminating, memorable anecdotes…. Beckert’s book made me wish for a sequel.” —Daniel Walker Howe, The Washington Post
“Momentous and brilliant … Empire of Cotton is among the best nonfiction books of this year.” —Karen R. Long, Newsday
“Compelling … Beckert demonstrates persuasively how the ravenous cotton textile trade in Europe was instrumental in the emergence of capitalism and draws a direct line from the practices that nourished this empire to similar elements in the production of goods for today’s massive international retailers. Those who long to know more about how and why slavery took hold in Europe, Africa and the Americas will find this book to be immensely enlightening.  Better still, those who live out the troubled legacy of the exploitation and enslavement of workers in the service of the cotton empire will find in it added inspiration for their continuing efforts to realize a just and more equitable society.” —Ruth Simmons, President Emeritus of Brown University
“Intellectually ambitious … a masterpiece of the historian’s craft.” —Timothy Shenk, The Nation
“A highly detailed, provocative work.” —Booklist
“Hefty, informative, and engaging … Beckert’s narrative skills keep the story of capitalism fresh and interesting for all readers.” —Publishers Weekly
“[Beckert’s] close-up study of the cotton economy is a valuable model for the study of capitalism generally, an economic system in which slavery and colonialism were not outliers but instead integral to the whole … a valuable contribution.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Fascinating and profound…. Global history as it should be written.” —Eric Foner


Bancroft Prize WINNER 2015

Pulitzer Prize (History) FINALIST 2015

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