Cover image for King sugar : Jamaica, the Caribbean, and the world sugar industry
King sugar : Jamaica, the Caribbean, and the world sugar industry
Harrison, Michelle, 1968-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New York University Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
168 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD9114.J252 H37 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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What is life like on a sugar plantation at the end of the twentieth century? What will happen if the sugar industry collapses? How do the poverty-stricken cane cutters of rural Jamaica fit into the global economy? And how does sugar make its way from the canefield to our kitchens?

The Carribean's history is inseparable from sugar. In Jamaica entire communities depend on the sugar industry, earning a precarious living on old-fashioned plantations. For many the crop even doubles as currency. But as the advanced nations reassess the economic policies that keep sugar alive, time is running out for the island's industry.

King Sugarlooks at the world sugar business, identifying the key playersproducers, markets and transnational companiesand explaining how the industry works. It explores the economics and politics of trading agreements, the mysteries of the futures market and the technology of sugar production. Based on interviews with traders, buyers and producers, it provides a unique look at the history of this commodity.

King Sugar also looks in detail at how ordinary people fit into this global industry. Through interviews with workers on a plantation she provides a vivid picture of producers and the crises they face. The book finally assesses the future of sugar, both in Jamaica and the wider world, and considers the options for those still ruled by "King Sugar."

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Harrison's examination of the Caribbean sugar industry straddles the line between a journalistic and a scholarly approach. For the most part, this method of approaching the topic works, and general as well as more specialized readers will find the book of interest. Although Harris (researcher, Univ. of Cardiff, UK) focuses on Jamaica's sugar industry and how it is integrated, or not, with the local economy, she also includes chapters that consider the historical role of sugar as a commodity within the region and in world markets. Unique characteristics of the book are the personal vignettes and interviews with plantation workers, producers, traders, and buyers, which are interlaced throughout the book and put "faces" behind the production and distribution of sugar. Recommended for public and academic library collections, lower-division undergraduate through faculty. J. L. Dietz California State University, Fullerton