Saturday, December 30, 2006

Up Before Daybreak

Hopkinson, Deborah. 2006. Up Before Daybreak: Cotton and People In America.

Up Before Daybreak is a well-researched and well-written nonfiction book about the cotton industry in America from its humble beginnings in the seventeenth century, to its reign during the eighteenth and nineteenth century before the civil war, and even expanding beyond the civil war through the reconstruction era and the first half of the twentieth century. It is an expansive view going beyond race, ethnicity, and class. Discussing issues such as slavery, sharecropping, and mill factories. Looking at the people behind the work--black, white, young, old, male, female--the common thread is poverty. The workers whether enslaved or paid cheap labor (a few dollars for 70+ hours of labor) their livelihood was dependent on the crop. It is an interesting examination of race, culture, and class. Up Before Daybreak is also well-documented and makes full use of primary documents such as oral histories. Includes selected bibliography, notes, index, and some amazing black and white photographs.

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