Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground

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9780674726833: Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground

Louis Mandrin led a gang of bandits who brazenly smuggled contraband into eighteenth-century France. Michael Kwass brings new life to the legend of this Gallic Robin Hood and the thriving underworld he helped to create. Decades before the storming of the Bastille, surging world trade excited a revolution in consumption that transformed the French kingdom. Contraband exposes the dark side of this early phase of globalization, revealing hidden connections between illicit commerce, criminality, and popular revolt.

France's economic system was tailor-made for an enterprising outlaw like Mandrin. As French subjects began to crave colonial products, Louis XIV lined the royal coffers by imposing a state monopoly on tobacco from America and an embargo on brilliantly colored calico cloth from India. Vigorous black markets arose through which traffickers fed these exotic goods to eager French consumers. Flouting the law with unparalleled panache, Mandrin captured widespread public attention to become a symbol of a defiant underground.

This furtive economy generated violent clashes between gangs of smugglers and customs agents in the borderlands. Eventually, Mandrin was captured by French troops and put to death in a brutal public execution intended to demonstrate the king's absolute authority. But the spectacle only cemented Mandrin's status as a rebel folk hero in an age of mounting discontent. Amid cycles of underground rebellion and agonizing penal repression, the memory of Mandrin inspired ordinary subjects and Enlightenment philosophers alike to challenge royal power and forge a movement for radical political change.

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About the Author :

Michael Kwass is Associate Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University.

Review :

Michael Kwass’s Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground is a striking and novel biography of the celebrated smuggler and bandit, Louis Mandrin. Drawing ingeniously on both microhistory and global history, Kwass explores wide-ranging, vivid, and often unexpected facets of an eighteenth-century life―and shows how that life was rampantly embroidered in the public sphere. (Colin Jones, author of The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon)

A profoundly imaginative work that shows readers how the expansion of global commodity production penetrated deeply into provincial France over the eighteenth century. (Paul Cheney, author of Revolutionary Commerce: Globalization and the French Monarchy)

[An] excellent book...The greatest strength of Contraband lies in its convincing use of Mandrin to explain how France’s Ancien Regime fell apart...Over the past twenty years, as historians have come to recognize the importance of early globalization, they have struggled to link it to the political upheavals of the 18th century. In Contraband, Michael Kwass has provided one of the strongest and most satisfying models of how the connection worked. (David A. Bell London Review of Books 2015-01-08)

Engrossing and ambitious...Vivid and thrilling, Kwass’s depiction of Mandrin and his infamous associates also leads to a compelling reconsideration of the larger political and economic shifts occurring in pre-Revolutionary France...From Savoyard peasants to worldly noblemen, Kwass engagingly recreates the spider-web of illicit commerce and the motivations of those who stood to gain from it...Contraband’s undeniable strength comes from Kwass’s superb, at times cinematic, attention to detail. In recreating Mandrin’s smuggling raids in 1754 and 1755, Kwass develops a fascinating array of characters and settings. Kwass’s Mandrin is a sharply dressed and sophisticated protagonist with a flair for political theater, a shrewd leader, outmaneuvering the numerous intrigues thickening around him, albeit ultimately and tragically undone by circumstances...The story is filled with assassinations, betrayals, sieges, elegant dinner parties, riveting chase sequences, and more...Throughout this remarkable story, there is drama and insight enough to galvanize the attention of both scholars and lay readers. (Patrick Hyde Los Angeles Review of Books 2015-08-05)

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Description du livre HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2014. Hardback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Louis Mandrin led a gang of bandits who brazenly smuggled contraband into eighteenth-century France. Michael Kwass brings new life to the legend of this Gallic Robin Hood and the thriving underworld he helped to create. Decades before the storming of the Bastille, surging world trade excited a revolution in consumption that transformed the French kingdom. Contraband exposes the dark side of this early phase of globalization, revealing hidden connections between illicit commerce, criminality, and popular revolt.France s economic system was tailor-made for an enterprising outlaw like Mandrin. As French subjects began to crave colonial products, Louis XIV lined the royal coffers by imposing a state monopoly on tobacco from America and an embargo on brilliantly colored calico cloth from India. Vigorous black markets arose through which traffickers fed these exotic goods to eager French consumers. Flouting the law with unparalleled panache, Mandrin captured widespread public attention to become a symbol of a defiant underground.This furtive economy generated violent clashes between gangs of smugglers and customs agents in the borderlands. Eventually, Mandrin was captured by French troops and put to death in a brutal public execution intended to demonstrate the king s absolute authority. But the spectacle only cemented Mandrin s status as a rebel folk hero in an age of mounting discontent. Amid cycles of underground rebellion and agonizing penal repression, the memory of Mandrin inspired ordinary subjects and Enlightenment philosophers alike to challenge royal power and forge a movement for radical political change. N° de réf. du libraire AAU9780674726833

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Description du livre HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2014. Hardback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Louis Mandrin led a gang of bandits who brazenly smuggled contraband into eighteenth-century France. Michael Kwass brings new life to the legend of this Gallic Robin Hood and the thriving underworld he helped to create. Decades before the storming of the Bastille, surging world trade excited a revolution in consumption that transformed the French kingdom. Contraband exposes the dark side of this early phase of globalization, revealing hidden connections between illicit commerce, criminality, and popular revolt.France s economic system was tailor-made for an enterprising outlaw like Mandrin. As French subjects began to crave colonial products, Louis XIV lined the royal coffers by imposing a state monopoly on tobacco from America and an embargo on brilliantly colored calico cloth from India. Vigorous black markets arose through which traffickers fed these exotic goods to eager French consumers. Flouting the law with unparalleled panache, Mandrin captured widespread public attention to become a symbol of a defiant underground.This furtive economy generated violent clashes between gangs of smugglers and customs agents in the borderlands. Eventually, Mandrin was captured by French troops and put to death in a brutal public execution intended to demonstrate the king s absolute authority. But the spectacle only cemented Mandrin s status as a rebel folk hero in an age of mounting discontent. Amid cycles of underground rebellion and agonizing penal repression, the memory of Mandrin inspired ordinary subjects and Enlightenment philosophers alike to challenge royal power and forge a movement for radical political change. N° de réf. du libraire AAU9780674726833

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