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Empire of cotton : a global history

Author: Sven Beckert
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2015. ©2014
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First Vintage Books editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
"The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality in the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism. Sven Beckert's rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world's most significant manufacturing industry combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Nonfiction
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Sven Beckert
ISBN: 0375713964 9780375713965
OCLC Number: 904459253
Awards: Bancroft Prize, 2015.
Pulitzer Prize Finalist, History, 2015
Description: xxii, 615 pages : illustrations, maps ; 21 cm
Contents: The rise of a global commodity --
Building war capitalism --
The wages of war capitalism --
Capturing labor, conquering land --
Slavery takes command --
Industrial capitalism takes wing --
Mobilizing industrial labor --
Making cotton global --
A war reverberates around the world --
Global reconstruction --
Destructions --
The new cotton imperialism --
The return of the global South --
The weave and the weft : an epilogue.
Responsibility: Sven Beckert.

Abstract:

"The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality in the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism. Sven Beckert's rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world's most significant manufacturing industry combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to change the world. Here is the story of how, beginning well before the advent of machine production in 1780, these men created a potent innovation (Beckert calls it war capitalism, capitalism based on unrestrained actions of private individuals; the domination of masters over slaves, of colonial capitalists over indigenous inhabitants), and crucially affected the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia. We see how this thing called war capitalism shaped the rise of cotton, and then was used as a lever to transform the world. The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, farmers and merchants, workers and factory owners. In this as in so many other ways, Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the modern world. The result is a book as unsettling and disturbing as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist"--Provided by publisher.

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