JAMES WALVIN is the author of many books on slavery and modern social history. His book, Crossings, was published by Reaktion Books in 2013 and he is the author of Sugar: The World Corrupted, from Slavery to Obesity (Robinson, 2017). His first book, with Michael Craton, was a detailed study of a sugar plantation: A Jamaican Plantation, Worthy Park, 1670-1970 (Toronto, 1970). He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2006, and in 2008 was awarded an OBE for services to scholarship.
Over the years, probably no one has done as much as James Walvin to popularise the history of slavery and abolition. His work is consistently innovative . . . Rather than tackling this story through organised anti-slavery, or what might be thought of as a white narrative, Walvin sets out to 'explore how slaves were the critical element in securing their own freedom', a very different emphasis that reflects growing interest on both sides of the Atlantic in notions of black resistance . . . Walvin synthesises this complex global history with skill and ingenuity. Freedom is beautifully written and clearly organised . . . thought-provoking, rich in detail and imbued with an emotional intelligence that pushes us to imagine what slave life meant, especially during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. - Family & Community History, Vol. 22/3, October 2019Praise for James Walvin's Sugar: A brilliant and thought-provoking history of sugar and its ironies. - Wall Street JournalPraise for James Walvin's Sugar: An 'entertaining, informative and utterly depressing global history of an important commodity . . . By alerting readers to the ways that modernity's very origins are entangled with a seemingly benign and delicious substance, Sugar raises fundamental questions about our world. - New York TimesPraise for James Walvin's Sugar:As an historian of slavery, Walvin is well versed in the triangular trade and explains the role of sugar cane in bringing Africans to the Caribbean. His survey of sugar in our lives is very readable. - SpectatorPraise for James Walvin's Sugar: Shocking and revelatory . . . no other product has so changed the world, and no other book reveals the scale of its impact.Praise for James Walvin's Sugar: What is striking about James Walvin's new book is that, while focusing solely on sugar, it does not restrict itself to the past. Rather, it takes the story of perhaps the most transformative and destructive boom-crop of all time and brings it disturbingly into the present day. - BBC History MagazinePraise for James Walvin's Sugar: A convincing, deep history of this (in)famous product . . . This is not simply the tale of those who toiled to produce sugar . . . Something more than a scholarly text, this study could not be more timely.Praise for James Walvin's Sugar: A refreshingly historical look at a substance we often take for granted.