James Walvin - Little, Brown Book Group

James Walvin



JAMES WALVIN is the author of many books on slavery and modern social history. His book, Crossings, was published by Reaktion Books in 2013. His first book, with Michael Craton, was a detailed study of a sugar plantation: A Jamaican Plantation, Worthy Park, 1670-1970 (Toronto, 1970). He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2006, and in 2008 was awarded an OBE for services to scholarship.
Books currently available by this author

Date published: New > Old

Coming Soon
Hachette Audio

Freedom

James Walvin
Authors:
James Walvin

In this timely and very readable new work, Walvin focuses not on abolitionism or the brutality and suffering of slavery, but on resistance, the resistance of the enslaved themselves - from sabotage and absconding to full-blown uprisings - and its impact in overthrowing slavery. He also looks that whole Atlantic world, including the Spanish Empire and Brazil. In doing so, he casts new light on one of the major shifts in Western history in the past five centuries. In the three centuries following Columbus's landfall in the Americas, slavery became a critical institution across swathes of both North and South America. It saw twelve million Africans forced onto slave ships, and had seismic consequences for Africa. It led to the transformation of the Americas and to the material enrichment of the Western world. It was also largely unquestioned. Yet within a mere seventy-five years during the nineteenth century slavery had vanished from the Americas: it declined, collapsed and was destroyed by a complexity of forces that, to this day, remains disputed, but there is no doubting that it was in large part defeated by those it had enslaved. Slavery itself came in many shapes and sizes. It is perhaps best remembered on the plantations - though even those can deceive. Slavery varied enormously from one crop to another- sugar, tobacco, rice, coffee, cotton. And there was in addition myriad tasks for the enslaved to do, from shipboard and dockside labour, to cattlemen on the frontier, through to domestic labour and child-care duties. Slavery was, then, both ubiquitous and varied. But if all these millions of diverse, enslaved people had one thing in common it was a universal detestation of their bondage. They wanted an end to it: they wanted to be like the free people around them. Most of these enslaved peoples did not live to see freedom. But an old freed man or woman in, say Cuba or Brazil in the 1880s, had lived through its destruction clean across the Americas. The collapse of slavery and the triumph of black freedom constitutes an extraordinary historical upheaval - and this book explains how that happened.

Robinson

Sugar

James Walvin
Authors:
James Walvin

An 'entertaining, informative and utterly depressing global history of an important commodity . . . By alerting readers to the ways that modernity's very origins are entangled with a seemingly benign and delicious substance, How Sugar Corrupted the World raises fundamental questions about our world.'Sven Beckert, the Laird Bell professor of American history at Harvard University and the author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History, in the New York Times'A brilliant and thought-provoking history of sugar and its ironies'Bee Wilson, Wall Street Journal'Shocking and revelatory . . . no other product has so changed the world, and no other book reveals the scale of its impact.' David Olusoga'This study could not be more timely.' Laura Sandy, Lecturer in the History of Slavery, University of LiverpoolThe story of sugar, and of mankind's desire for sweetness in food and drink is a compelling, though confusing story. It is also an historical story.The story of mankind's love of sweetness - the need to consume honey, cane sugar, beet sugar and chemical sweeteners - has important historical origins. To take a simple example, two centuries ago, cane sugar was vital to the burgeoning European domestic and colonial economies. For all its recent origins, today's obesity epidemic - if that is what it is - did not emerge overnight, but instead evolved from a complexity of historical forces which stretch back centuries. We can only fully understand this modern problem, by coming to terms with its genesis and history: and we need to consider the historical relationship between society and sweetness over a long historical span. This book seeks to do just that: to tell the story of how the consumption of sugar - the addition of sugar to food and drink - became a fundamental and increasingly troublesome feature of modern life.Walvin's book is the heir to Sidney Mintz's Sweetness and Power, a brilliant sociological account, but now thirty years old. In addition, the problem of sugar, and the consequent intellectual and political debate about the role of sugar, has been totally transformed in the years since that book's publication.