The New York Times
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Milq Books Archive
What's the best book you read in 2015?
Empire of Cotton
Empire of Cotton: A Global History By Sven Beckert. If sugar was the defining commodity of the 18th century and oil of the 20th, then surely cotton was king in the 19th century. In this sweeping, ambitious and disturbing survey, y, Beckert takes us through every phase of a global industry that has relied on millions of miserably treated slaves, sharecroppers and millworkers to turn out its product. The industrialization of cotton rested on violence, Beckert tells us, and its story is that of the development of the modern world itself. Even today, he reports, an industry that is always looking for cheaper labor is engaged in a “giant race to the bottom.” Read our review of "Empire of Cotton: A Global History" here. Buy the book here.