UPDATED: August 10, 2012 – Andrea Stuart’s book now listed for sale
To be the descendant of Barbadian slaves and white British sugar plantation owners is an extraordinary legacy, for it means that one side of your family once owned the other. But that is the strange inheritance that Andrea Stuart discovered when she began to investigate her family history…
Read a new account in Mail Online and purchase Sugar in the Blood: A family’s story of Slavery and Empire
“I think that in Britain there’s still a degree of denial or an unwillingness to really confront the back story of British slavery and so on. So there’s a sense of it being something that happened sometime a long time ago in some far away place, rather than realizing that the British colonies were, at that point, Britain, that they were British territories and the connection between the colonies and Britain is incredibly intimate. Not something that happened far away and a long time ago, but something that happened in Britain in the world of British life and something that still has repercussion today, and I think that’s the thing that, as a culture, Britain hasn’t quite come to terms with.”
Andrea Stuart talks with Marco Werman about the complexities of untangling her family tree, and of coming to terms with the idea of being descended from both slave owners and slaves in Barbados.
Andrea Stuart’s new book “Sugar in the Blood, A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire” is
due on the shelves in January 2013 apparently available now through the link in the Mail Online story at the top of the page.
From the author of an acclaimed biography of Josephine Bonaparte: a stunning history of the interdependence of sugar, slavery, and colonial settlement in the New World—from the seventeenth century to the present—which is, as well, a spellbinding family memoir.
Andrea Stuart uses her own family story as the pivot of an epic tale, examining the ways in which the sugar crop cultivated on the island of Barbados created nations, enriched Europe beyond its wildest imaginings, and precipitated the enslavement of the millions of Africans in the Americas. Interspersing the tectonic shifts of colonial history with her own ancestors’ experiences, Stuart explores, with subtlety and sensitivity, how this one particular commodity has shaped the destiny of her family—its identity, genealogy, place of origin, varying hues of skin—and how our hunger for it has mobilized forces that converged to shape the world for four centuries and counting.