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Hubs of Empire: The Southeastern Lowcountry…

Hubs of Empire: The Southeastern Lowcountry and British Caribbean…

by Matthew Mulcahy

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Matthew Mulcahy's Hubs of Empire: The Southeastern Lowcountry and British Caribbean (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) is another excellent addition to the Regional Perspectives on Early America series. Each installment I've read has provided a really good synthesis of recent scholarship on the region covered, and this is no exception. Mulcahy makes an entirely reasonable case for considering Britain's Caribbean island colonies and the southeastern lowcountry as a region, ably outlining the ways in which the large-scale plantation culture in each colony played a vital role in its development (while recognizing the important ways in which the mainland colonies differed from their island counterparts).

The volume begins with chapters on the settlement and economic development of the colonies, and Mulcahy then treats the rise of plantation culture and the slave economy very well. A section on the cultural milieu of the region highlights how markedly different the colonial societies in this region functioned from those in New England or the Middle Colonies. A final chapter on the political turmoil of the 1760s feels rushed, and I wish Mulcahy had dealt with this subject in a bit more depth.

My one other quibble is that the citations don't actually cover all the material in the book that should be footnoted; several times I wanted to know where Mulcahy had gotten a particular bit, and it wasn't included in the footnote. Those minor reservations aside, this is a well-written and thorough exploration of the region and its culture. ( )
  JBD1 | Dec 16, 2014 |
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