". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Boston Review Puts TASC in Sydney Mintz Orbit-Obit / Another Counterpunch TASC Review

It gives a funny feeling, on the day before we leave for Cuba that Sydney Mintz has died. And see The American Slave Coast mentioned in the obituary by  Sarah Hill.

My copy of Sweetness and Power, which I still have.

I first read Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (1985) back in 1989-90, before el V's first trip to Cuba. It helped reshape my way of thinking, of seeing our past, along with Fernand Braudel, co-founder of the French school of history known as the Annales. I got el V to read it asap.

It's an honor to have TASC included in a list of like books, influential titles, that the obit writer clearly sees influenced to greater and lesser degree by the work of Mintz.

Alas the obituary writer left out the name of the other author of The American Slave Coast. This may be the first time this omission has happened.  However, the obit writer knew Prof. Mintz well, and surely is grief-stricken.

In the meantime, Ron Jacobs, author of a new Counterpunch review of The American Slave Coast is outraged. In his final paragraph Jacobs says:
Ned and Constance Sublette have provided the world with one of the best history books ever written about the United States. Nominally about the slave breeding industry in the US South, The American Slave Coast is actually a sweeping, in-depth survey of the nation known as the United States. The authors skilfully blend economics, politics, military history and personal narratives into a history volume that stands among the best ever published. Written with an eye on the present–a present where the case of Tamir Rice is but one of hundreds–it is a history with a weight that will never began to be thrown off until it is understood with the same honesty it is told in The American Slave Coast.

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