By Kathryn Olivarius,

Book cover of Necropolis: Disease, Power, and Capitalism in the Cotton Kingdom

Book description

Disease is thought to be a great leveler of humanity, but in antebellum New Orleans acquiring immunity from the scourge of yellow fever magnified the brutal inequities of slave-powered capitalism.

Antebellum New Orleans sat at the heart of America's slave and cotton kingdoms. It was also where yellow fever epidemics…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Necropolis as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I was on a conference panel with Kathryn a few years ago and got to hear her present part of what would become her book Necropolis, and I was already hooked. Nineteenth-century New Orleans was marked by both yellow fever and its opposition to public health measures that might have made the city safer. Instead, white Americans who survived the terrible disease (and Olivarius describes it in all of its nastiness), developed “immunocapital” giving them further opportunities to enrich themselves in the bustling port city. For those who were Black and enslaved, yellow fever meant either death or further…

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