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Shameless, Lucifer and Pug-Nose

David A. Bell: Louis Mandrin, 8 January 2015

Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground 
by Michael Kwass.
Harvard, 457 pp., £35, April 2014, 978 0 674 72683 3
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... the most famous criminal in the country’s history, Louis Mandrin, established his reputation. As Michael Kwass explains in his excellent book, flourishing global trade and domestic economic expansion had combined to create a vast new consumer market for imported goods: sugar, chocolate, coffee, tea, tobacco, porcelain, fabrics, spices and much else. By ...

Wide-Angled

Linda Colley: Global History, 26 September 2013

The French Revolution in Global Perspective 
edited by Suzanne Desan, Lynn Hunt and William Max Nelson.
Cornell, 240 pp., £16.50, April 2013, 978 0 8014 7868 0
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... focus on influences outside Europe and how they can enhance our understanding of 1789. Michael Kwass brilliantly explores the volume of illicit trade in pre-revolutionary France, especially in non-European commodities such as tobacco and calico. Perhaps half of all Frenchmen condemned to the galleys between 1685 and 1791 were incarcerated for ...

Added Fashion Value

David A. Bell: Capitalism’s Rosy Dawn, 7 October 2021

Capitalism and the Emergence of Civic Equality in 18th-Century France 
by William H. Sewell Jr.
Chicago, 412 pp., £28, April, 978 0 226 77046 8
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... primitive banks and setting up grey markets with the tacit approval of royal officials. And, as Michael Kwass showed in his brilliant Contraband (which I discussed in the LRB of 8 January 2015), where legal workarounds failed, criminal gangs stepped in with huge smuggling operations.Fashionable clothing was just one of the products flooding into urban ...

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