Synopses & Reviews
Named one of the Top 10 Books of 2008 by The Times-Picayune. Winner of the 2009 Humanities Book of the Year award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.Awarded the New Orleans Gulf South Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award for 2008.
New Orleans is the most elusive of American cities. The product of the centuries-long struggle among three mighty empires--France, Spain, and England--and among their respective American colonies and enslaved African peoples, it has always seemed like a foreign port to most Americans, baffled as they are by its complex cultural inheritance.
The World That Made New Orleans offers a new perspective on this insufficiently understood city by telling the remarkable story of New Orleanss first century--a tale of imperial war, religious conflict, the search for treasure, the spread of slavery, the Cuban connection, the cruel aristocracy of sugar, and the very different revolutions that created the United States and Haiti. It demonstrates that New Orleans already had its own distinct personality at the time of Louisianas statehood in 1812. By then, important roots of American music were firmly planted in its urban swamp--especially in the dances at Congo Square, where enslaved Africans and African Americans appeared en masse on Sundays to, as an 1819 visitor to the city put it, rock the city.”
This book is a logical continuation of Ned Sublettes previous volume, Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo, which was highly praised for its synthesis of musical, cultural, and political history. Just as that book has become a standard resource on Cuba, so too will The World That Made New Orleans long remain essential for understanding the beautiful and tragic story of this most American of cities.
Offering a new perspective on the unique cultural influences of New Orleans, this entertaining history captures the soul of the city and reveals its impact on the rest of the nation. Focused on New Orleans first century of existence, a comprehensive, chronological narrative of the political, cultural, and musical development of Louisianas early years is presented. This innovative history tracks the important roots of American music back to the swamp town, making clear the effects of centuries-long struggles among France, Spain, and England on the citys unique culture. The origins of jazz and the citys eclectic musical influences, including the role of the slave trade, are also revealed. Featuring little-known facts about the cultural development of New Orleanssuch as the real significance of gumbo, the origins of the tango, and the first appearance of the words vaudeville and voodoothis rich historical narrative explains how New Orleans colonial influences still shape the city today.
Originally published in hardcover in 2008.
About the Author
Ned Sublette is the author of Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo. Cofounder of the record label Qbadisc, he coproduced the public radio program Afropop Worldwide for seven years.