"This model study exposes the previously unknown Jewish ethnic network that filled a critical niche in the southern cotton trade during the second half of the nineteenth century. A major contribution with broad implications for students of economic history, Jewish history, and the history of the American South."
—Jonathan D. Sarna, author of When General Grant Expelled the Jews
"For a few decades after the Civil War, Jewish Americans played a key role in the southern cotton economy, infusing European and New York capital into the fields of a region still devastated by war, while organizing the trade in a crop central to the nation. Charting the rise and fall of this southern cotton complex, Cohen emphasizes the role of dense ethnic networks in fostering the all-important trust in which trade and credit were embedded. An important contribution to American economic history."
—Sven Beckert, author of Empire of Cotton
"Michael Cohen masterfully narrates how Jewish merchants provided much needed credit in the South following the Civil War. This eloquent study reminds us that we cannot fully understand the South’s economic revival in the age of reconstruction without looking at the critical role played by immigrant Jewish merchants."
—Rebecca Kobrin, Knapp Associate Professor of American Jewish History, Columbia University
"Michael R Cohen’s...well-written book, reveals how the incomers’ familial and, so to speak, tribal links with northern financiers and others across the world, modernised business in the South — indeed, that these few hundred Jews played a key role in building the cotton economy of the South towards its crescendo in the 19th and 20th."
—The Jewish Chronicle
"Historian Cohen (Tulane) presents a different perspective, examining the role of Jewish merchants in the antebellum South as they transitioned from peddlers to shopkeepers and extended credit and goods to local cotton producers…[Making] excellent use of the R. G. Dun credit reports and the American Jewish Archives, Cohen effectively argues that ethnic networks were important to these small Jewish businesses as they participated in the cotton economy."
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