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Publisher's Summary

Offering a new perspective on the unique cultural influences of New Orleans, this entertaining history captures the soul of the city and reveals its impact on the rest of the nation. Focused on New Orleans' first century of existence, a comprehensive, chronological narrative of the political, cultural, and musical development of Louisiana's early years is presented. This innovative history tracks the important roots of American music back to the swamp town, making clear the effects of centuries-long struggles among France, Spain, and England on the city's unique culture, and the role of the Senegambia, Congo, and Haiti on the making of Afro-Louisiana. The origins of jazz and the city's eclectic musical influences, including the role of the slave trade, are also revealed.

Featuring little known facts about the cultural development of New Orleans - such as the real significance of gumbo, the origins of the tango, and the first appearance of the words vaudeville and voodoo - this rich historical narrative explains how New Orleans' colonial influences shape the city still today.

©2008 Ned Sublette (P)2017 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great book; terrible "performance"

Would you try another book from Ned Sublette and/or Sean Crisden?

Would never listen to Sean Crisden again.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Sean Crisden?

The narrator's strained pronunciations and cadences are extremely distracting, almost to the point of being unlistenable; not to mention the inconsistencies in his pronunciations. It's a non-fiction history book, and a straightforward read would be much better.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Strong theme of slavery /slave experience

Not really the comprehensive history I was hoping for. Early history was best. Quite a bit of time spent on Haiti me other islands that contributed culture in NOLA. After the start of chapter 18 it became a slavery and music book.

Not really very interesting to prepare for my planned travel to the area. I'll look for another book to prepare me for the visit.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • OGBear
  • SIGNAL HILL, CA, United States
  • 08-20-18

Must Read/Listen Book

A book every Louisianian & New Orleanian should read. insightful and provocative knowledge is powerful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jillius
  • Daly City, CA United States
  • 07-26-18

Hard to follow. Didn't finish it.

I purchased this for my mother and me. Our plan was to listen to it as we road tripped to New Orleans so we'd arrive knowing know a lot more about the history of the city by the time we got there. Unfortunately, the book was so hard to follow that we gave up on it and picked a different one to listen to after three or four hours of driving and listening.

There were two issues. The guy reading the book swallowed the end of a lot of words, so we often flatly couldn't understand what he was saying. On top of that, the author of the book jumps around from topic to topic and era to era with almost no organization or linear train of thought. Without any logical flow to the information AND missing key percentage of what was said, we just were not learning anything worthwhile or enjoying the experience.

It's a shame because the author clearly knew a lot of interesting information and had done his research, and the speaker had a pleasant voice and a very fitting Southern accent. There's was lot of good there completely negated by lack of coherent editing and enunciation.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mira
  • California
  • 07-06-18

Good book, poor narration

This book is very interesting and informative, but the narrator is difficult to listen to, alternately difficult to follow (he does not read in a natural rhythm) and boring. I had a hard time staying awake. I ultimately bought the book to read myself, and this was a much better experience.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A love letter as much as a history book.

Over text recent years I've fallen in love with the City that is New Orleans. Wanting to dive deeper into the culture and understand more of the recent trials that have faced the robust locals I started listening to this book.

I am an outsider, that's ok. This book helps wipe out outsider ignorance of every corner of the city's beating heart of "why"

Discussing music tied in carefully to the city's black culture, which is tied closely to the city's foundation of slavery.

I felt this book was not shy, or embarrassed to talk about the real reason New Orleans came into existence, or how much it's derived from it's origins.

Politically charged when it comes to the failure of the US government and citizens after Katrina the book doesn't beat you over the head.

From France, to Spain, to France to the United States of America, the Slave Trade, the Carribean, and the birth of modern music.

I enjoyed every page.