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Empire of Cotton

Nonfiction: History
Unabridged   20.25 hour(s)
Publication date: 12/02/2014

Empire of Cotton

A Global History

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781622316328
Digital Download ISBN:9781622316335


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.

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Product Description

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 the 1780s, these men captured ancient trades and skills in Asia, combined them with the expropriation of lands in the Americas and the enslavement of African workers to crucially recast the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia. We see how industrial capitalism then reshaped these worlds of cotton into an empire, and how this empire transformed 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 world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities that are with us today. The result is a book as unsettling as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist.


“...a dazzlingly detailed account of events from India to Egypt to the Americas...Narrator Jim Frangione is solid and engaging.”
      —Library Journal [March 15, 2015]

Author Bio

SVEN BECKERT is the Laird Bell Professor of American History at Harvard University. His work focuses on the history of capitalism, including its economic, social, political and transnational dimensions. Holding a PhD from Columbia University, he has been the recipient of numerous fellowships from institutions including the Harvard Business School, the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. He was also a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.