In 1795, New Orleans was a sleepy outpost at the edge of Spain's American empire. By the 1820s, it was teeming with life, its levees packed with cotton and sugar. New Orleans had become the unquestioned urban capital of the antebellum South. Looking at this remarkable period filled with ideological struggle, class politics, and powerful personalities, Building the Land of Dreams is the narrative biography of a fascinating city at the most crucial turning point in its history.Read more...
In 1795, New Orleans was a sleepy outpost at the edge of Spain's American empire. By the 1820s, it was teeming with life, its levees packed with cotton and sugar. New Orleans had become the unquestioned urban capital of the antebellum South. Looking at this remarkable period filled with ideological struggle, class politics, and powerful personalities, Building the Land of Dreams is the narrative biography of a fascinating city at the most crucial turning point in its history.
Eberhard Faber tells the vivid story of how American rule forced New Orleans through a vast transition: from the ordered colonial world of hierarchy and subordination to the fluid, unpredictable chaos of democratic capitalism. The change in authority, from imperial Spain to Jeffersonian America, transformed everything. As the city's diverse people struggled over the terms of the transition, they built the foundations of a dynamic, contentious hybrid metropolis. Faber describes the vital individuals who played a role in New Orleans history: from the wealthy creole planters who dreaded the influx of revolutionary ideas, to the American arrivistes who combined idealistic visions of a new republican society with selfish dreams of quick plantation fortunes, to Thomas Jefferson himself, whose powerful democratic vision for Louisiana eventually conflicted with his equally strong sense of realpolitik and desire to strengthen the American union.
Revealing how New Orleans was formed by America's greatest impulses and ambitions, Building the Land of Dreams is an inspired exploration of one of the world's most iconic cities.
- ISBN-13: 9780691166896
- ISBN-10: 0691166897
- Publisher: Princeton University Press
- Publish Date: October 2015
- Page Count: 456
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-09-28
- Reviewer: Staff
Multicultural New Orleans maintains a mystique that stems from its unique development under governments of France, Spain, and Thomas Jeffersons U.S., argues musician-turned-history teacher Faber in this remarkable and thorough history. He ably describes the citys complex evolution in a packed chronological narrative that takes note of Louisianas key historical figures, harsh geographic considerations, and complex socioeconomic configurations. While the heavily Catholic, French-speaking city differed greatly in temperament from the predominantly British, Protestant republic surrounding it, Faber adroitly asserts that the port city (officially established in 1718) and the young country shared similar dreams of self-determination and trading opportunities. Steering away from traditional interpretations, Faber argues that class, not ethnic identity caused the bulk of conflict between the Creole elite and transplanted Easterners. But rampant intermarriage suggested common ground, he notesa point that was solidified during Andrew Jacksons 1815 victory in the Battle of New Orleans. In spite of simultaneously enchanting and confounding Jefferson, New Orleans gained its singular identity through a long transition of becoming more New Orleaniana process that ironically made it more American. Illus. (Nov.)