Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Building the Devil's Empire: French Colonial New Orleans

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226138428
ISBN-10: 0226138429
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$5.97 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$22.52 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
17 New from $20.90 18 Used from $5.97
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

Up to 50% off select Non-Fiction books
Featured titles are up to 50% off for a limited time. See all titles
$22.52 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Building the Devil's Empire: French Colonial New Orleans
  • +
  • The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era
Total price: $45.27
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews


“A brilliant and spirited reinterpretation of the emergence of French New Orleans. Dawdy leads us deep into the daily life of the city, and along the many paths that connected it to France, the North American interior, and the Greater Caribbean. A major contribution to our understanding of the history of the Americas and of the French Atlantic, the work is also a model of interdisciplinary research and analysis, skillfully bringing together archival research, archaeology, and literary analysis.”

(Laurent Dubois, Duke University)

“Nowadays it is rare to come across an academic monograph that combines literary verve and analytical virtuosity, and rarer still to find it in a book that straddles history and archeology. Shannon Lee Dawdy’s immensely sophisticated study of French Louisiana—the first full-length treatment since World War One—defies easy categorization. Hers is more than a rollicking tale of how rogues, creoles, and utopian planners from three continents conjured from the mud one of the Atlantic World’s quirkiest communities. Building the Devil’s Empire is also a thoughtful meditation on the meaning of colonialism, revolution, and liberal capitalism near the dawn of the modern age. The book is a tour de force.”

(Lawrence N. Powell, Tulane University)

“Dawdy’s research is thorough and imaginative, and her argument persuasive and important. As the literature on colonial Louisiana grows and improves, Dawdy’s work raises the historical study of New Orleans to an even higher standard and promises to influence future lines of inquiry. In this ambitious and appealing book, she cleverly turns what has made New Orleans marginal to the writing of colonial history—its reputation for disorder and failure—into the essential challenge for understanding the city’s significance.”

(Daniel H. Usner Jr., Vanderbilt University)

"By untangling myths, Dawdy has left us all with a richer inheritance. . . . Good history contains surprises, of which there are an abundance in this eye-popping yet scholarly book. And it has some cool color illustrations, too."
(Andrew Burstein Advocate)

"[A] penetrating study of the colony's founding."

“This book is highly useful for developing an understanding not only of New Orleans, but also of the history of the Caribbean world during the colonial period.”

"The author, trained in historical archaeology and anthropology, provides often-remarkable insights into the ethos and daily lives of the people of New Orleans, while putting this unique society into a larger context of colonial dynamics and structure. . . .  Historians have paid surprisingly little attention to this fascinating period, and this book is most welcome."
(John T. McGrath Journal of American History)

"In delightfully diverse ways, [the author] explores the themes of imperial design, creole improvisation, and rogue colonialism. . . . Dawdy's book furnishes a model of interdisciplinary research, bringing to the task the tools of archaeology, ethnography, literary analysis, and archival research, all the while vigorously engaging with the secondary and the theoretical literature. . . .Engagingly written, beautifully illustrated, flawlessly edited, and reasonably priced."
(Richmond F. Brown American Historical Review)

"Employing a vibrant style, Dawdy animates a painstakingly woven social, cultural, and economic tapestry of the history of French Louisiana, one that deserves to hang in a place of honor in the years to come."
(John Lowe French Studies)

About the Author

Shannon Lee Dawdy is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago and coeditor of Dialogues in Cuban Archaeology.


New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226138429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226138428
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By Mary Beaudry on September 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In this splendid and groundbreaking history of colonial New Orleans, Shannon Dawdy demonstrates her powers as research and raconteur and captivates the reader with her talent for spinning out the human stories that made New Orleans in its infancy the place of infamy, chicanery, and romance that has so firmly lodged it in the minds of Americans and others. It is a wonderful read and one that makes me, a historical archaeologist like Dawdy though not, I fear, one of her caliber, stew in impatient anticipation of her forthcoming works on the archaeology of our beloved Crescent City.
Comment 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Mr. Retro on December 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
New Orleans is my favorite subject right now and this book is a fantastic look at its delicious history. Can't put it down.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
For those that have read several previous books on 18th century New Orleans this
provides a little more information but not much more. What is especially disappointing, given the title, is that there is little data presented regarding the sexual lives of city residents in the French period. Given New Orleans's reputation as having always been free-spirited in this regard this is a major gap. Totally missing is any data on the extent to which same gender relationships were tolerated despite French sodomy laws prior to the Revolution of 1789. Also the details on the streets, the houses, vegetation of the city is limited.
1 Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Building the Devil's Empire: French Colonial New Orleans
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Building the Devil's Empire: French Colonial New Orleans