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Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas Hardcover – April 30, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
From Bondage to Freedom "Among the longstanding themes in African-American history is the debate over cultural survival and acculturation," observes UCLA geography professor Judith A. Carney in the introduction to Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas. Contrary to common belief, she explains, rice was not brought by Europeans to the Americas by way of Asia, but rather was introduced here by Africans and cultivated by African-American slaves, particularly in South Carolina, where rice crops proved to be one of the most profitable plantation-based economies. Though this is a scholarly work, Carney's clear, uncluttered prose invites a wider readership.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Exploring crops, landscapes and agricultural practices in Africa and America, [Carney] demonstrates the critical role Africans played in the creation of the system of rice production that provided the foundation of Carolina's wealth...This detailed study of historical botany, technological adaptation and agricultural diffusion adds depth to our understanding of slavery and makes a compelling case for "the agency of slaves" in the creation of the South's economy and culture.
--Drew Gilpin Faust (New York Times Book Review 2001-04-22)
Contrary to common belief, [Carney] explains, rice was not brought by Europeans to the Americas by way of Asia, but rather was introduced here by Africans and cultivated by African-American slaves, particularly in South Carolina, where rice crops proved to be one of the most profitable plantation-based economies. Though this is a scholarly work, Carney's clear, uncluttered prose invites a wider readership. (Publishers Weekly 2001-02-19)
Black Rice sets out to discredit for good an old Southern recipe for history that depicts slaves as mere laborers who dumbly performed work their masters conceived. Carney tells it the other way around. After years visiting West African rice fields, then digging in archives on both sides of the Atlantic, she has emerged with evidence that early slave traders sought and seized Africans who had the abilities to grow a specific African rice...Black Rice might be called an agricultural detective story. The historical crime--and that's clearly how Carney sees it--is the relative lack of attention given to African rice.
--Allan M. Jalon (Los Angeles Times 2001-08-20)
Judith A. Carney's Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas...describes how the South Carolina rice industry was built not only on slave labor but on the agricultural and technological knowledge brought over by the Africans...[It] changes our understanding of the black contribution to American life.
--Barry Gewen (New York Times Book Review 2005-06-05)
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Top customer reviews
There is one fly in the ointment. I think this book could have been cut, or at least, more carefully edited. There is a very large amount of repetition. The same ideas, even the same phrases, appear many times and it becomes tiresome to be told the same thing yet again. Many times I felt like exclaiming, "OK, OK ! I get it." This aside, BLACK RICE is a fine book. If you are interested in American history or African/American connections, if the tranfer of agricultural knowledge systems intrigue you, you can't afford to miss it.