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In Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom, Robert Gudmestad examines the wide-ranging influence of steamboats on the southern economy. From carrying cash crops to market, to contributing to slave productivity, increasing the flexibility of labor, and connecting southerners to overlapping orbits of regional, national, and international markets, steamboats not only benefitted slaveholders and northern industries, but also affected cotton production.
This technology literally put people into motion, and travelers developed an array of unique cultural practices, from gambling to boat races. Gudmestad also asserts that the intersection of these riverboats and the environment reveals much about sectional identity in antebellum America. As federal funds backed railroad construction instead of clearing waterways for steamboats, southerners looked to coordinate their own economic development, free of national interests.
Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom offers new insights into the remarkable and significant history of transportation and commerce in the prewar South.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Lynn on 07-31-12
Rollin on the River
Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom is one good book. Don’t let the fact that it is published by an academic press (Louisiana State University Press) keep you from turning some pages. I love the Mississippi River and enjoy reading about it historically and technically, but even the disinterested will find much to enjoy here. Robert Gudmestad brings the early steamboat days on The River to life. The portraits he paints of slavery on The River, passengers, accidents, and the cotton trade reward any time the reader might spend on the volume. The reading of Fred Filbrich is a plus!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Jim Jones, CFA on 08-08-12
Very informative and engaging
Where does Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I learned a great deal and was introduced to life in the Antebellum South in the years prior to the Civil War. It was obvious Gudmestad had spent a tremendous amount of time in research in order to gather all the stories, newspaper articles, and data to write this book. His weaving of facts with detailed storied accounts from the people of the day was engaging and motivated me to listen on.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom?
This book is so much richer than an academic description of steamboats in the early 1800s. Rather than a dry textbook, this audiobook transported me back to that age and allowed me to experience the sights, sounds, smells, hopes, dreams, and stark realities of the Antebellum South.
What about Fred Filbrich’s performance did you like?
Good steady voice which was easy to follow.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful