Smuggler Nation by Peter Andreas – Mini Book Review

Smuggler Nation by Peter Andreas
Published by Oxford University Press

From the publisher:

America is a smuggler nation. Our long history of illicit imports has ranged from West Indies molasses and Dutch gunpowder in the 18th century, to British industrial technologies and African slaves in the 19th century, to French condoms and Canadian booze in the early 20th century, to Mexican workers and Colombian cocaine in the modern era. Contraband capitalism, it turns out, has been an integral part of American capitalism.

Providing a sweeping narrative history from colonial times to the present, Smuggler Nation is the first book to retell the story of America–and of its engagement with its neighbors and the rest of the world–as a series of highly contentious battles over clandestine commerce.

If you’re a fan of American history, Peter Andreas provides a fascinating new way to look at it with his Smuggler Nation. Andreas makes a very convincing argument that America’s history is, by definition, a history of smuggling, from to intellectual property, to drugs and other material goods, to people. How long would the Confederacy have lasted without the blockade runners, for example?

In addition to being informative and convincing, Andreas is also an engaging writer. He has a good sense of flow and reader attention span, balancing good, meaty information with the knowledge of when to change the subject at least a little to keep things interesting.

Smuggler Nation is not only a new way to look at our history, but also a new way to look at our present. Politicians and policy makers bemoaning our porous borders would do well to learn from the lessons of our smuggling past before proposing solutions that only rehash past failures. Recommended.

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Source: Publisher, via Netgalley.
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