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Sir Walter Ralegh played the starring role in a life that was a series of romantic, almost-too-spectacular-to-be-true adventures. From the dazzling court of Queen Elizabeth to the dense jungles of South America, from daring sea raids to the epic struggle against the Spanish Armada, from his luminous historical writings to his intimate poetry, Ralegh left his mark on the age. His life was as dramatic and complex as a Shakespearean play.
Ralegh was a man of great contradictions: He participated in the massacre of Catholics in Ireland, yet later supported religious toleration; he was a calculating courtier resented by many, yet he spoke so eloquently for the rights of individuals that he became a popular hero. His quest to find the legendary city of El Dorado and the fate of the famous Lost Colony he had sponsored in the New World are representative of both the soaring hopes and nightmarish realities that Europeans brought with them across…[more]
When this award-winning husband-and-wife team discovered that they each had sugar in their family history, they were inspired to trace the globe-spanning story of the sweet substance and to seek out the voices of those who led bitter sugar lives. The trail ran like a bright band from religious ceremonies in India to Europe’s Middle Ages, then on to Columbus, who brought the first cane cuttings to the Americas. Sugar was the substance that drove the bloody slave trade and caused the loss of countless lives but it also planted the seeds of revolution that led to freedom in the American colonies, Haiti, and France.
With songs, oral histories, maps, and over 80 archival illustrations, here is the story of how one product allows us to see the grand currents of world history in new ways.