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A Golden WeedTobacco and Environment in the Piedmont South$
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Drew A Swanson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300191165

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300191165.001.0001

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How Did Such a Poor Land Make Some People so Rich, and How Did They So Quickly Become Poor Again?

How Did Such a Poor Land Make Some People so Rich, and How Did They So Quickly Become Poor Again?

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction How Did Such a Poor Land Make Some People so Rich, and How Did They So Quickly Become Poor Again?
Source:
A Golden Weed
Author(s):

James C. Scott

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300191165.003.0001

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book tells the story of the rise of a crop culture as well as the decline of the environment that accompanied tobacco cultivation, from severe erosion to deforestation to insect infestations. It seeks to understand not only the material relationships that connected crop, land, and people but also the mental calculations and justifications that accompanied tobacco farming. The book focuses on the birthplace of a bright tobacco culture that would eventually cover substantial swaths of the South—three contiguous Piedmont counties, Halifax and Pittsylvania in Virginia, and Caswell in North Carolina—from early experiments with bright leaf around 1840 until the nadir of local farm fortunes at the end of the nineteenth century.

Keywords:   tobacco farming, crop culture, environmental degradation, cultivation, Virginia, Piedmont

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