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River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom #2019

River of Dark Dreams Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom When Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Territory he envisioned an empire for liberty populated by self sufficient white farmers Cleared of Native Americans and the remnants of European empires by Andr

  • Title: River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom
  • Author: Walter Johnson
  • ISBN: 9780674045552
  • Page: 463
  • Format: Hardcover
  • River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom By Walter Johnson, When Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Territory, he envisioned an empire for liberty populated by self sufficient white farmers Cleared of Native Americans and the remnants of European empires by Andrew Jackson, the Mississippi Valley was transformed instead into a booming capitalist economy commanded by wealthy planters, powered by steam engines, and dependent on the coeWhen Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Territory, he envisioned an empire for liberty populated by self sufficient white farmers Cleared of Native Americans and the remnants of European empires by Andrew Jackson, the Mississippi Valley was transformed instead into a booming capitalist economy commanded by wealthy planters, powered by steam engines, and dependent on the coerced labor of slaves River of Dark Dreams places the Cotton Kingdom at the center of worldwide webs of exchange and exploitation that extended across oceans and drove an insatiable hunger for new lands This bold reaccounting dramatically alters our understanding of American slavery and its role in U.S expansionism, global capitalism, and the upcoming Civil War.Walter Johnson deftly traces the connections between the planters pro slavery ideology, Atlantic commodity markets, and Southern schemes for global ascendency Using slave narratives, popular literature, legal records, and personal correspondence, he recreates the harrowing details of daily life under cotton s dark dominion We meet the confidence men and gamblers who made the Valley shimmer with promise, the slave dealers, steamboat captains, and merchants who supplied the markets, the planters who wrung their civilization out of the minds and bodies of their human property, and the true believers who threatened the Union by trying to expand the Cotton Kingdom on a global scale.But at the center of the story Johnson tells are the enslaved people who pulled down the forests, planted the fields, picked the cotton who labored, suffered, and resisted on the dark underside of the American dream.

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      Published :2019-09-04T10:34:35+00:00

    1 thought on “River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom

    1. I hesitate to use the word entertaining when describing a book about slavery, but that s what comes to mind Walter Johnson s River of Dark Dreams is entertaining It is compelling It is a book that is brilliant, weird, passionate, ambitious, filled with unnecessarily big words concupiscence is used not once, but twice , and razor edged in its condemnations of the antebellum slave society in the American South You would think that being against slavery is an obvious position I challenge you to rea [...]

    2. As a reviewer, I couldn t possibly do better than this The enlightening, progressive force of liberalism has carried us far from slavery, we like to think We are not those people and never could have been In River of Dark Dreams, we are reminded that between the slave empire and our own age lies only a handful of generations Johnson shows the historical meaning of this proximity We are connected not just through the shortness of time but through the persistence of the liberal capitalist traditio [...]

    3. This is an extraordinary book a compelling history of the carceral empire of the Mississippi River valley and its inhabitants, written with a theoretician s eye for the social, political, and economic currents of imperial history, and a novelist s ear for the emotional and psychological subjectivities of those who built the Cotton Kingdom, justified it, and were enslaved by it Walter Johnson maintains a brilliant sense of relationality between the personal and the impersonal, ideology and lived [...]

    4. I enjoyed reading this book, in spite of several issues with it The book was generally very readable, but the author sometimes resorted to an academic style highfalutin language when simpler words would probably have done as well The larger structural issue was that the book read like a collection of essays, so I came away without a sense of an overall theme I felt that with a really good editor to impose some order, this could have been a great book.In spite of the above reservations, it is a [...]

    5. Walter Johnson s River of Dark Dreams Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom traces the development of an imperial ethos among southern planters and firebrands in the Mississippi River Valley between roughly 1820 and 1861 Throughout the volume, Johnson tries to detail a specific vision of empire held by southern planters that encompassed a common appraisal of race, sex, slavery, space, and time a vision that outlines what the world and the future looked like to slaveholders and other white men [...]

    6. Fantastic book It views the slave economy of the American South as part of a global economic system, and does not shy away from the inherent contradictions in the political philosophy involved or the horrifying conditions under which enslaved people lived their lives It offers a panoramic view and still manages to paint a portrait.

    7. This book ranks as one of the most entertaining and beautifully written scholarly works I have ever read Johnson s turns of phrase and coinages are sharp, accurate, contextual, and packed with so much insight.Each chapter covers a different aspect of the slave based economy social structure in the antebellum Mississippi Valley These topics include The technology and economics of steamboats, the attempts by pro slavery filibusters to invade and take over Cuba and Nicaragua for the United States, [...]

    8. Having read Walter Johnson s Soul By Soul Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market, I was very eager to read his next work of historical genius Johnson is a pretty extraordinary writer, especially considering historians aren t trained to be writers and so many of them write dull stuff Johnson s prose is lovely, if lovely can be used to describe a book about slave holding imperialism in the Cotton Kingdom Johnson asks us to reconsider the Southern slaveholder he wasn t only concerned with his slav [...]

    9. Maybe the best way to describe this is as a brilliant and visceral illustration of the political and social economy of slavery, especially as it hit a point at which it had to expand Cuba Nicaragua Re opening the Atlantic slave trade or implode, and the warpings this wrought on the people who perpetuated it Johnson uses as an effective metaphor the Mississippi steamboats, which hit a saturation market about the same time slavery did, and adapted by pushing for speed and recklessness with equipme [...]

    10. If you wonder why things like Ferguson, Trayvon Martin and the out and out hatred of the current president are with us this book should help you understand that dynamic Also alludes to the fact that many contemplated a much larger and wider US empire even as far back as the 1840 s and 1850 s, which dovetails with our current situation separate from our race relations and yet how driven by a racist context that desire for empire seems to be.

    11. Wow what a book I actually skimmed this once for a class and then went back to try to read it carefully and while it took me a really long time, it was so worth it Johnson as I m sure many other people will tell you is an amazing writer, while also being so intellectually rigorous in his work and with his argument And that argument is so important drawing together imperialism and its connections in the US to slaveholding culture, to the absolute necessity of expansion that I think really still [...]

    12. An extraordinary compendium on Mississippi River Valley s history of slavery and the cotton economy Mr Johnson provides the reader than a 100 pages of references in support of his narrative on cotton s capitalistic use of slavery When insurance was procured for bales of cotton and slaves, but was not for paying ridership aboard steamboats traversing the Mississippi River little doubt is left to the darkness of slavery s economics.

    13. While the research and organization of this work are laudatory, the new content introduced and the overall slavery is bad tone of Walter Johnson s RIVER OF DARK DREAMS has little to offer in the realm of innovative scholastic methods or findings However, there are some attempts to incorporate an environmental history approach to the Cotton Kingdom as well as a transnational thrust that is explored rather well and interestingly Cuba and Nicaragua were both prized by and settled by Southerners hop [...]

    14. The second book I read this month about slavery in the antebellum era This book differs from The Half Hasn t Been Told, which focuses on the slave slaveholder experience The author focuses on the extension of slave territory, arguing that a white supremacist idealogy drove the expansion of slavery Accounts of filibusters who invaded Texas, Cuba, and Nicaragua with the intention of adding territory to the U.S specifically slave territory, illustrate this process Simultaneously, slave holders set [...]

    15. River of Dark Dreams Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom by Walter Johnson is an exceptionally dry read The research appears to be solid and he does present some little known ideas in a new context, but there is little flow to the writing It was exceptionally difficult to discern his thesis in this book and the facts he chooses to share meander, much like the river he bases his book upon I read this book as part of a book club assignment, otherwise, I really would not have bothered to finis [...]

    16. An amazing book on the intersection of global cotton economy and slavery in the Mississippi Valley The main claim is that concentration on cotton with exclusion of other crops made the area economy extremely vulnerable The constant need to buy and slaves to tend cotton created a dangerous situation, especially when the profits from cotton started to go down Basically the author says that the plantation owners acted as if there is no tomorrow concentrated on cotton and became dependent on other [...]

    17. One of the very important books about slavery and cotton in the United States The early chapters are especially interesting, detailing the environmental decisions, and the use of steamboat technology The high point certainly is the great chapter, The Carceal Landscape about how the landscape itself imprisoned the slave and frustrated escape The closing chapters turn on the Cotton Lords ambitions to claim Cuba and or Nicaraugua The stories are important, but the sort of detail that is the hallmar [...]

    18. This is a study of the lower Mississippi River valley in the 19th century with a focus on the economy and thus the slavery in the region It s fascinating and horrifying at the same time Johnson doesn t pull any punches in describing the treatment of slaves during this period In the space of a few decades, a million human beings were sold and transported from states like Maryland, Virginia and Georgia This book is well documented, pulling from many sources including accounts from escaped slaves l [...]

    19. This book has had a very big impact on my view of the Mississippi Valley and on slavery and capitalism I knew slavery was bad but I had no idea how cruel people could be just for money It has also darkened my view of both Jefferson and Washington and all of those who held slaves.The book is very well written with lots and lots of sources One of those sources American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund Morgan is my next history read.

    20. An audacious thesis about slavery s connection to Southern attitudes toward trade and empire, marred by the author s faulty understanding of capitalism and addiction to atrocious academic prose and literary pretensions A fantastic book could be cobbled together from the material the author uncovered, shorn of his trite theories and phrases like material givenness, gendered hierarchies of household social order, technologies of dominion and extraction, tesselated agency, etc etc.

    21. Very ambitious book Author does not frame story as the reasons for the coming of the Civil War Johnson focuses on the disorder within the Cotton Kingdom, by looking at the way in which slavery was done and how product moved.Further, Johnson focuses on the minority of slave holders who had ambitions to take slavery global.

    22. It s that time of year when reviews must get short, but let me just say this is a heck of a book A really eye opening look at slavery and the Mississippi Valley in the antebellum period One of the best books I ve read graduate school thus far, even it gets unnecessarily jargon ish at times Johnson is generally a great writer who creates a vivid sense of the past.

    23. Though the thesis about the civil war is dubious, the writing is seductive and enjoyable for a history book, and also the meat of the book about the carceral landscape is powerful and I d say, visceral.

    24. Great intervention into the conversation about the South s Cotton Kingdom as well as the debate on slavery and how its success led to American capitalism.

    25. A fantastic history of slavery that links economics to the environment, emphasizing the agricultural expertise of slaves and the economic limitations of masters.

    26. This is a brave and important book in its emphasis on the absolute violence intrinsic in the American slave system that was not just the actions of a few particularly cruel owners.

    27. I enjoyed the book, just not sure what the thesis is Johnson covers a lot of topics and a lot of ground, but not sure what it all has to do with each other.

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