The Sugar Barons

The Sugar Barons

Paperback

By (author) Matthew Parker

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  • Publisher: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 29mm | 361g
  • Publication date: 2 February 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099558459
  • ISBN 13: 9780099558453
  • Sales rank: 95,923

Product description

For 200 years after 1650 the West Indies were the most fought-over colonies in the world, as Europeans made and lost immense fortunes growing and trading in sugar - a commodity so lucrative that it was known as white gold. Young men, beset by death and disease, an ocean away from the moral anchors of life in Britain, created immense dynastic wealth but produced a society poisoned by war, sickness, cruelty and corruption. The Sugar Barons explores the lives and experiences of those whose fortunes rose and fell with the West Indian empire. From the ambitious and brilliant entrepreneurs, to the grandees wielding power across the Atlantic, to the inheritors often consumed by decadence, disgrace and madness, this is the compelling story of how a few small islands and a handful of families decisively shaped the British Empire.

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Author information

Born in Central America, Matthew Parker spent part of his childhood in the West Indies, acquiring a life-long fascination with the history of the region. Since graduating from Oxford, he has worked as an editorial consultant on a number of works of history, and written three bestselling books. He now lives with his family in east London.

Review quote

"Compelling, wonderful ... The Sugar Barons is an exemplary book; history as it should be written" Independent "Gripping ... a compendium of greed, horrible ingenuity and wickedness, but also a fascinating and thoughtful social history" -- William Dalrymple "A shocking tale of corruption and brutality ... an admirable and gripping history" Sunday Times "Very impressive - a meticulously researched piece of work, and so engagingly written ... what a story!" -- Andrea Levy, author of Small Island and Long Song "A tumultuous rollercoaster of a book ... Mr Parker tells an extraordinary, neglected and shameful history with gusto" Economist

Back cover copy

'A shocking tale of corruption and brutality . . . an admirable and gripping history ' Sunday Times ' Very impressive - a meticulously researched piece of work, and so engagingly written . . . what a story !' Andrea Levy, author of Small Island and Long Song The familiar image of the West Indies as paradise islands conceals a turbulent past. For 200 years after 1650 they were the most fought over colonies in the world, as Europeans made and lost immense fortunes growing and trading in sugar - a commodity so lucrative that it was known as white gold. Young men, beset by death and disease, an ocean away from the moral anchors of life in Britain created immense dynastic wealth but produced a society poisoned by war, sickness, cruelty and corruption. The Sugar Barons explores the lives and experiences of those whose fortunes rose and fell with the West Indian empire. From the ambitious and brilliant entrepreneurs, to the grandees wielding power across the Atlantic, to the inheritors often consumed by decadence, disgrace and madness, this is a compelling story of how a few small islands and a handful of families decisively shaped the British Empire. 'A fascinating and bloody tale. . . an antidote to the modern strain of neo-conservative history that says empire was rather a good thing' Financial Times 'A tumultuous rollercoaster of a book . . . Mr Parker tells an extraordinary, neglected and shameful history with gusto ' Economist 'A magnificent account of a bleak and torrid era, told with great humanity . . . as a portrait of the heat, horror and vanity of that time, The Sugar Barons is surely without equal ' Spectator