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Building the Devil's Empire: French Colonial New Orleans

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Building the Devil’s Empire is the first comprehensive history of New Orleans’s early years, tracing the town’s development from its origins in 1718 to its revolt against Spanish rule in 1768. Shannon Lee Dawdy’s picaresque account of New Orleans’s wild youth features a cast of strong-willed captives, thin-skinned nobles, sharp-tongued women, and carousing travelers. But s ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by University Of Chicago Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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The content of book was excellent and I would recommend it for any person wanting to learn about the history of New Orleans. I do not have any historical reference to compare it to but as an introductory text, the book was interesting. My fault with the book and the main reason for my reviewing it at three stars is that it was poorly written. The author constantly repeats herself- almost repeating paragraphs and points ad nauseum and lacks consistency in her writing. I had a difficult time getti ...more
The only time I saw the title word devil appear in Ms. Dawdy’s book was in a quote from a nun, complaining about women’s heavy make-up. Ms. Dawdy researched in France and uses a lot of French expressions. Also, she translates obscenities for the non-speaker. She uses the word forçat all the time. These were forced exiles, often smugglers, and a fleur de lis was branded on them. of the founders’ generation were criminals.
Ms. Dawdy says New Orleans was an “intellectual experiment” in urban plann
Pretty dry but a great history of the colonial founding
I read this for an upcoming project and it didn't end up being exactly what I needed. I did learn that the French Colonial period in NOLA was much shorter than I had thought it was. It is a good book for folks largely unfamiliar with NOLA history, but it was generally information I had already gathered from other sources. It is annotated well so that the reader can easily locate the cited sources. Unfortunately, this book does not complete the research I need to do.
The Introduction was rhapsodic, promising a lusty world of colonialism in the bayou. Her notion of rogue colonialism is intriguing. At worst, the two words form a redundancy; at best the idea helpfully underscores the contingency that drives events in transoceanic colonial ventures.
Extremely interesting, but poorly written. Repeats information multiple times, and does not provide crucial information until 3/4 of the way through the book.
This was actually very interesting but it was due back the library and my trip to NOLA is over! I'll pick it back up next time I go there.
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