Hurricanes And Society In The British Greater Caribbean, 1624--1783

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Overview

Hurricanes created unique challenges for colonists in the British Greater Caribbean during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These storms were entirely new to European settlers and quickly became the most feared part of their physical environment, destroying staple crops and provisions, leveling plantations and towns, disrupting shipping and trade, and resulting in major economic losses for planters and widespread privation for slaves. Matthew Mulcahy examines how colonists made sense of hurricanes, how they recovered from them, and the role of the storms in shaping the development of the region's colonial settlements.

"Path-breaking and original... Mulcahy has creatively exploited the paper trails left by major seventeenth- and eighteenth-century hurricanes as probes into changing social relations in the British Caribbean."— American Historical Review

"A rich and engaging study. Readers of Hurricanes and Society in the British Greater Caribbean will add hurricanes to the list of characteristics that define the early modern Caribbean: sugar, slavery, disease, war."— William and Mary Quarterly

"Mulcahy's vivid descriptions of Caribbean hurricanes, their impact on colonial economic and social life, and their effects on the larger Atlantic world is a most valuable contribution to the recent number of books on disasters in history."— Environmental History

"This book will interest not only scholars interested in how past groups have addressed the challenges of new environmental phenomena but also those interested in how people have learned or failed to learn from these events and how many of the fears and misconceptions of the past still shape and distort our views of disasters today."— Hispanic American Historical Review

Matthew Mulcahy is an associate professor and chair of the History Department at Loyola College in Maryland.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

New West Indian Guide - Bonham C. Richardson
Solid, well-researched study. One hopes that he is just starting a provocative research career dealing with the history of geographical hazards in the Caribbean and adjacent rimland zones. He is certainly off to a promising start.
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences - Deborah R. Coen
By drawing on the perspectives of disaster studies and environmental history, Mulcahy's work implicitly raises provocative questions for the history of meteorology.
Historical Geography - Jefferson Dillman
Mulcahy certainly takes his place in the growing field of environmental history with this useful and intriguing study, which should prove of value to scholars in a wide variety of fields ranging from environmental history, Caribbean studies, cultural and intellectual history, to economic and colonial histories. Well-written and concise, yet possessed of sufficient depth to engender future research projects, Hurricanes and Society is a worthy contribution to its field.
William and Mary Quarterly
A rich and engaging study. Readers of Hurricanes and Society in the British Greater Caribbean will add hurricanes to the list of characteristics that define the early modern Caribbean: sugar, slavery, disease, war.

— Robert Olwell

Georgia Historical Quarterly
An innovative, polished, crisply written book that will peak the interest of scholars even as it appeals to some educated general readers.

— Darcy R. Fryer

Business History Review
In this lucidly written and cogently organized monograph, [Mulcahy] argues that the destruction wrought by hurricanes only acquires meaning in the context of the community that experienced it... A wonderful read and a stimulating piece of scholarship.

— James Alexander Dun

Journal of American History
A valuable book for anyone who wants to understand the British Greater Caribbean.

— Bradford J. Wood

Historian
As the impact of hurricanes challenges contemporary societies, a well-researched volume that considers the uneven development of local adaptive strategies and central aid policies is valuable... A well-written and thought-provoking study.

— James Robertson

Environmental History
Mulcahy's vivid descriptions of Caribbean hurricanes, their impact on colonial economic and social life, and their effects on the larger Atlantic world is a most valuable contribution to the recent number of books on disasters in history.

— Anthony N. Penna

American Historical Review
Path-breaking and original... Mulcahy has creatively exploited the paper trails left by major seventeenth- and eighteenth-century hurricanes as probes into changing social relations in the British Caribbean.

— James Rodger Fleming

Hispanic American Historical Review
This book will interest not only scholars interested in how past groups have addressed the challenges of new environmental phenomena but also those interested in how people have learned or failed to learn from these events and how many of the fears and misconceptions of the past still shape and distort our views of disasters today.

— Walter Gillis Peacock

Reviews in History
Intriguing and well-written analysis of the cultural impact of hurricanes in the plantation regions of seventeenth and eighteenth century British America.

— Trevor Burnard

New West Indian Guide
Solid, well-researched study. One hopes that he is just starting a provocative research career dealing with the history of geographical hazards in the Caribbean and adjacent rimland zones. He is certainly off to a promising start.

— Bonham C. Richardson

Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
By drawing on the perspectives of disaster studies and environmental history, Mulcahy's work implicitly raises provocative questions for the history of meteorology.

— Deborah R. Coen

Historical Geography
Mulcahy certainly takes his place in the growing field of environmental history with this useful and intriguing study, which should prove of value to scholars in a wide variety of fields ranging from environmental history, Caribbean studies, cultural and intellectual history, to economic and colonial histories. Well-written and concise, yet possessed of sufficient depth to engender future research projects, Hurricanes and Society is a worthy contribution to its field.

— Jefferson Dillman

Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History
Will reward almost any reader. Scholars interested in Barbados, Jamaica, or South Carolina will want to have it on their bookshelves.

— J.R. McNeill

William and Mary Quarterly - Robert Olwell
A rich and engaging study. Readers of Hurricanes and Society in the British Greater Caribbean will add hurricanes to the list of characteristics that define the early modern Caribbean: sugar, slavery, disease, war.
Georgia Historical Quarterly - Darcy R. Fryer
An innovative, polished, crisply written book that will peak the interest of scholars even as it appeals to some educated general readers.
Business History Review - James Alexander Dun
In this lucidly written and cogently organized monograph, [Mulcahy] argues that the destruction wrought by hurricanes only acquires meaning in the context of the community that experienced it... A wonderful read and a stimulating piece of scholarship.
H-Atlantic, H-Net Reviews - Michael Guasco
A thoughtful consideration of all sorts of issues at the heart of early British American history.
Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History - J.R. McNeill
Will reward almost any reader. Scholars interested in Barbados, Jamaica, or South Carolina will want to have it on their bookshelves.
Journal of American History - Bradford J. Wood
A valuable book for anyone who wants to understand the British Greater Caribbean.
Historian - James Robertson
As the impact of hurricanes challenges contemporary societies, a well-researched volume that considers the uneven development of local adaptive strategies and central aid policies is valuable... A well-written and thought-provoking study.
Environmental History - Anthony N. Penna
Mulcahy's vivid descriptions of Caribbean hurricanes, their impact on colonial economic and social life, and their effects on the larger Atlantic world is a most valuable contribution to the recent number of books on disasters in history.
American Historical Review - James Rodger Fleming
Path-breaking and original... Mulcahy has creatively exploited the paper trails left by major seventeenth- and eighteenth-century hurricanes as probes into changing social relations in the British Caribbean.
Hispanic American Historical Review - Walter Gillis Peacock
This book will interest not only scholars interested in how past groups have addressed the challenges of new environmental phenomena but also those interested in how people have learned or failed to learn from these events and how many of the fears and misconceptions of the past still shape and distort our views of disasters today.
Reviews in History - Trevor Burnard
Intriguing and well-written analysis of the cultural impact of hurricanes in the plantation regions of seventeenth and eighteenth century British America.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801890796
  • Publisher: Hopkins Fulfillment Service
  • Publication date: 7/8/2008
  • Series: Early America: History, Context, Culture Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,135,104
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Mulcahy is associate professor and chair of the history department at Loyola College in Maryland.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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