Thursday, February 3, 2011

Daniel Rasmussen

Daniel Rasmussen graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University in 2009, winning the Kathryn Ann Huggins Prize, the Perry Miller Prize, and the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize.

His new book is American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt.

Last month I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I just finished Gene Dattel’s Cotton and Race in the Making of America: The Human Costs of Economic Power. Dattel’s fascinating book explains just how important cotton was to the American economy from the invention of the cotton gin through the Great Depression. A retired financier, Dattel is able to deftly draw connections between the business of cotton and the politics of this nation. Unlike many academic histories (Dattel is, like me, an independent scholar), Cotton and Race in the Making of America looks upon history through a broad scope, daring (and succeeding) in its ambition to present cotton as the building block upon which this country was built. Because of his business perspective, Dattel is able to show how the business of cotton was no mere Southern phenomenon; rather, southern slave-owning planters, northern merchants, and British bankers all worked closely together. And racism, as the northern exclusion laws and riots and segregation demonstrated, was not uniquely Southern either. Anyone looking to understand 19th century American history from an economic perspective should pick up this book and read it.
Learn more about American Uprising and its author at Daniel Rasmussen's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: American Uprising.

--Marshal Zeringue