Extended Audio Sample

Download The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire, and War in the West Indies Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire, and War in the West Indies Audiobook, by Matthew Parker Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (97 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matthew Parker Narrator: Jonathan Cowley Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2011 ISBN: 9781452672618
Regular Price: $20.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

To those who travel there today, the West Indies are unspoiled paradise islands. Yet that image conceals a turbulent, dramatic, and shocking history. For some two hundred years after 1650, the West Indies became the strategic center of the Western world, witnessing one of the greatest power struggles of the age as Europeans made and lost immense fortunes growing and trading in sugar-a commodity so lucrative it became known as "white gold." As Matthew Parker skillfully chronicles in his sweeping history, the sugar revolution made the English, in particular, a nation of voracious consumers, so much so that the wealth of her island colonies came to underpin the entire British economy, ultimately fueling the Industrial Revolution. Yet beside the incredible wealth came untold misery: the horrors of slavery and of slaves, on whose backs the sugar empires were brutally built; the rampant disease that claimed the lives of one third of all whites within three years of arrival in the Caribbean; the cruelty, corruption, and decadence of the plantation culture. For those on the ground, the British West Indian empire presented a disturbing moral universe. Parker vividly interweaves the human stories-since lost to history-of visitors and slaves, overseers and soldiers, and of the families whose fortunes and fame rose and fell on sugar. Their wealth drove the development of the North American mainland states, and with it a slave culture, as the racist plantation model was exported to the warm southern states. Eventually opposition to sugar policy in London helped to unite the North American colonies against Britain. Broad in scope and rich in detail, The Sugar Barons freshly links the histories of Europe, the West Indies, and North America, and reveals the full impact of the sugar revolution, the resonance of which is still felt today. Download and start listening now!

bey2

Quotes & Awards

  • A rich, multifaceted account. . . . Parker achieves admirable clarity and focus in this . . . complicated story of the sugar revolution. Kirkus
  • Named an Economist Best Book of the Year

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jan | 12/16/2013

    " Interesting, but too long, too much detail "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clare | 12/10/2013

    " Quite dense and not one to read if you are going to be distracted. Full of interesting information and a history largely unknown to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Von radesky | 11/29/2013

    " An enjoyable read, with plenty of interesting threads to follow: British Empire, pirates, slavery, American Revolution, etc. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 11/25/2013

    " Alongside good history of the British Caribbean, much insight into the American Revolution. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 9/12/2012

    " An interesting examination of a chapter in history that I didn't know much about; very fascinating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rennie | 9/4/2012

    " Not bad - some interesting tidbits would like to see the story from the side of a native of the West Indies. The slavery details were overdone and more real letters from people would have been interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Moss | 4/15/2012

    " It was fascinating to hear European voices of that era talking about how shocking and ultimately dehumanizing West Indian slavery was from their perspective. It's a good read about a very ugly chapter of history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 B.K. Marcus | 4/4/2012

    " Fascinating and lesser-known Anglo-American history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 3/4/2012

    " A great book, as it promised a readable history of an important and history making trade. However, it's the kind of book you need to read in the day time in order to concentrate on it. I don't get any time to read in the day so I dipped into it. One that I should return to, sometime..... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan | 11/6/2011

    " The harrowing history of the substance that is killing us. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 9/18/2011

    " Alongside good history of the British Caribbean, much insight into the American Revolution. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Matthew Parker is the author of several works of nonfiction, including Monte Cassino: The Hardest-Fought Battle of World War II; the Los Angeles Times bestseller Panama Fever, which was a 2008 Washington Post Best Book of the Year; and The Sugar Barons, which was an Economist Book of the Year. He lives in London.

About the Narrator

Jonathan Cowley is a British actor hailing from Eastbourne, East Sussex, but he currently calls Los Angeles home. He received AudioFile Earphones Awards for his narration of The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen and The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart. He has narrated many audiobooks and can also be heard on both sides of the Atlantic narrating film trailers and documentaries.