Slaves for Peanuts
The grant jury: This project holds great promise as an investigation not only of African slavery’s past and ongoing entanglements with what we eat and how it is grown, but how this particular form of slavery supported industrialization in the West. Lewis’s work fuses powerful storytelling and authoritative historical research, and she is adept at framing local events against a global backdrop. Vivid individual stories braid seamlessly with a more general discussion of economic history in prose that is lively and absorbing, though exact. A highly original work of history and ethnography, Slaves for Peanuts will be a formidable addition to the historical literature and yield a detailed and enlightened story of what it has meant to raise crops on this planet.