Sugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire, by Andrea Stuart

The author uses her own family story to trace the history of Barbados and the other Caribbean islands over the last 400 years. George Ashby was Stuart’s maternal ancestor who emigrated from England to Barbados in the late 1630’s. Though of modest means, he managed to buy a small amount of land and started off as a tobacco farmer. Due to economic and agricultural conditions, George and most of the Barbadian plantation owners soon switched to sugar cane which was a labor intensive crop and lead to the importing of slaves from Africa. Stuart’s own family background mixes black and white and follows the story of New World history from the seventeenth century to the present. This book, with its wealth of detail, made me realize all I don’t know about Caribbean history!

RATING: * * * A good read

Reviewed by: kh

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