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Mahogany: The Costs of Luxury in Early America
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Harvard Univ Pr
Publication date September 17, 2012
Pages 398
Binding Hardcover
Edition Sew
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780674048713
ISBN-10 0674048717
Dimensions 1.50 by 6 by 8.50 in.
Weight 1.32 lbs.
Original list price $37.00
Other format details university press
Summaries and Reviews description: Product Description:

In the mid-eighteenth century, colonial Americans became enamored with the rich colors and silky surface of mahogany. This exotic wood, imported from the West Indies and Central America, quickly displaced local furniture woods as the height of fashion. Over the next century, consumer demand for mahogany set in motion elaborate schemes to secure the trees and transform their rough-hewn logs into exquisite objects. But beneath the polished gleam of this furniture lies a darker, hidden story of human and environmental exploitation.

Mahogany traces the path of this wood through many hands, from source to sale: from the enslaved African woodcutters, including skilled “huntsmen” who located the elusive trees amidst dense rainforest, to the ship captains, merchants, and timber dealers who scrambled after the best logs, to the skilled cabinetmakers who crafted the wood, and with it the tastes and aspirations of their diverse clientele. As the trees became scarce, however, the search for new sources led to expanded slave labor, vicious competition, and intense international conflicts over this diminishing natural resource. When nineteenth-century American furniture makers turned to other materials, surviving mahogany objects were revalued as antiques evocative of the nation's past.

Jennifer Anderson offers a dynamic portrait of the many players, locales, and motivations that drove the voracious quest for mahogany to adorn American parlors and dining rooms. This complex story reveals the cultural, economic, and environmental costs of America’s growing self-confidence and prosperity, and how desire shaped not just people’s lives but the natural world.

Book cover for 9780395676356 Book cover for 9780674048713
The price comparison is for this edition
Sew edition from Harvard Univ Pr (September 17, 2012)
9780674048713 | details & prices | 398 pages | 6.00 × 8.50 × 1.50 in. | 1.32 lbs | List price $37.00
About: In the mid-eighteenth century, colonial Americans became enamored with the rich colors and silky surface of mahogany.
With Michael D. Oates | Book and cassette edition from Houghton Mifflin College Div (December 1, 1993); titled "Entre Amis: An Interactive Approach"
9780395676356 | details & prices | 8.50 × 9.75 × 1.75 in. | 2.85 lbs | List price $65.56
This edition also contains Entre Amis: An Interactive Approach
Book cover for 9780674503823
Reprint edition from Harvard Univ Pr (May 4, 2015)
9780674503823 | details & prices | 398 pages | 5.50 × 8.50 × 1.25 in. | 0.84 lbs | List price $19.95
About: Colonial Americans were enamored with the rich colors and silky surface of mahogany.

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