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Building the Devil's Empire: French Colonial New Orleans

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  72 Ratings  ·  11 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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Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shannon Lee Dawdy provides a wealth of information about French Colonial New Orleans in Building the Devil's Empire. Dawdy argues in her work that New Orleans was an experiment in urban planning according to Enlightenment-era ideals and that the city thrived thanks to "rogue colonialism" (a colonialism practiced by those working outside of government interests).

Through extensive research, Dawdy provides the reader with detailed information about several aspects of New Orleans during the French
Nov 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it
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 I do not have any historical reference to compare it to but as an introductory text, the book was interesting.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
Jul 12, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Jason S
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very ambitious book that hits the mark in proving quite a detailed thesis. Arguing that French New Orleans in the early and mid 18th century was a cite for the testing of Enlightenment and for the limits of mercantile and imperial control, this book is very information for those interested in French history, imperial history, and American history. Many references to James Scott.
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hi-541
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.
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Jun 15, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pretty dry but a great history of the colonial founding
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