Sugar and Slavery, Family and Race: The Letters and Diary of Pierre Dessalles, Planter in Martinique, 1808-1856

Overview

Diaries of nineteenth-century plantation managers are rare; diaries of French sugar planters are rarer still. Although such works as the diaries of Ella Gertrude Thomas and James Henry Hammond provide insight into the plantation societies of the antebellum South, virtually no contemporary source treats planter-slave relations as extensively, or presents a white planter's views on slave society in as much detail, as do the letters and diary of Pierre Dessalles. Now Elborg Forster and Robert Forster have translated...
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Baltimore, MD 1996 Trade paperback Very good.

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1996 Hardcover 8vo, hardcover. Black cloth, no dj. Fine condition, contents bright, crisp & clean, virtually unopened. 322 p., 4 p. of plates, map.

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Overview

Diaries of nineteenth-century plantation managers are rare; diaries of French sugar planters are rarer still. Although such works as the diaries of Ella Gertrude Thomas and James Henry Hammond provide insight into the plantation societies of the antebellum South, virtually no contemporary source treats planter-slave relations as extensively, or presents a white planter's views on slave society in as much detail, as do the letters and diary of Pierre Dessalles. Now Elborg Forster and Robert Forster have translated and edited the most historically and socially significant portions of this unusual work. Previously available only in a four-volume French edition, these materials treat a wide range of topics, including the slave economy, management and socialization of the labor force, the role of free blacks in society, the lives led by the plantation owners, and, significantly, black-white relations before, during, and after emancipation.

"Two senior historians of ancien râegime societies have deftly translated and introduced selected pages of this extraordinary diary left by a planter of old lineage who lived through momentous changes in Caribbean society and economy"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Dieudonnee (1785-1857) thought and wrote not only about running a sugar plantation on the Caribbean island, but also about such matters as society, slaves, people of color, white Creoles, the future of the colony, relations with France, his goals and obligations as a family member, and the morals and standards of a white planter. His diary, abbreviated and augmented with letters, is here condensed and translated from the publication by Henry de Fremont and Leo Elisabeth between 1984 and 1988. Well annotated. Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Historian - Charles D. Ameringer
The editors have been most perceptive in making these documents available to the English-reading audience, because the lessons they contain about the system of slavery are universal in nature... Offers much to scholars and students of history. It reveals a complex and personal relationship among the races that may be surprising. Teachers may find the book useful as a learning tool.
Historian
The editors have been most perceptive in making these documents available to the English-reading audience, because the lessons they contain about the system of slavery are universal in nature... Offers much to scholars and students of history. It reveals a complex and personal relationship among the races that may be surprising. Teachers may find the book useful as a learning tool.

— Charles D. Ameringer

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Elborg Forster has translated (with Patricia Ranum) seven volumes of articles from the Annales and numerous other historical works. Robert Forster is the author of Merchants, Landlords, Magistrates and The House of Saulx-Tavanes. Johns Hopkins Studies in Atlantic History and Culture

Johns Hopkins University Press

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