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humanities 143 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Argentine rural oligarchies. The chapters by Steven Hahn and Lucy Riall form a less comparable pair because the first focuses on Black labourers after emancipation and the second on the Sicilian landed estate rather than on the peasants themselves. But both describe a process similar to what the Dependency theorists of the 1970s labelled >uneven development=: the coexistence of liberal legal reforms with de facto social continuities, and of capitalist modes of exchange with semi-coercive labour systems. In the third part of the book, J. William Harris and Giovanna Fiume sketch the historiography on gender in the United States and Italian South respectively. The dominant topics in these two literatures seem quite different: the southern >belle= (or rather, its deconstruction), slavery, and race in the former; and problematizing the presumed traditionalism of peasant women and families in the latter. Nonetheless, William Harris offers a suggestive list of questions for comparison. The last three chapters of the book are explicitly comparative. Enrico del Lago draws parallels between the nation-building projects of antebellum and pre-unification northern liberals and their self-vision as liberators of the oppressed southern masses. Donna Gabaccia explores the interplay of regional and racial/ethnic identities among Black migrants from the American South and Italian immigrants from the mezzogiorno. Bruce Levine compares the debates about how capitalist southern plantations and latifundi were, an issue that relates to the first sentence of this review. The trope of the modern North and the backward South represents an ideological construction that has served to justify international and internal imperialism or, at its most benign, hubris and condescension. But it also reflects some undeniable realities. The >Norths= did generate technologies that produced more of what people need or want and political economies that distributed that more evenly. There, children B and mothers B died less often. Adults B of either sex B lived longer. Modernity may have been an ideology. But modernization was a socioeconomic process with palpable results. The strength of this book, besides its comparative perspective, lies in its willingness to tackle both. (JOSE C. MOYA) Ronald N. Harpelle. The West Indians of Costa Rica: Race, Class, and the Integration of an Ethnic Minority McGill-Queen=s University Press. xx, 238. $70.00 Between 1850 and the Great Depression, the Caribbean Sea was alive with waves of migrants. The emancipated slave populations of the British Caribbean and their descendants made the body of water one of the most complex temporary worker and settler frontiers of this great period in human migration. In moving around B sometimes drifting, more often sailing or steaming full-tilt to a chosen harbour B hundreds of thousands of 144 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Afro-Antillean men and women created a West Indian cultural and political community whose rimlands included the shores of Central America, from Belize (then British Honduras) to Panama. In this elegantly written book, Ronald Harpelle tells the story of one of these dynamic West Indian settlements, the Costa Rican province of Limón. His study is replete with fresh data gleaned from the local and national press, and from American and British consular reports. Harpelle=s book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on what we might call the >Greater West Indies,= a corpus that now includes a surprising number of studies of Limón. The trajectory recreated by Harpelle is one of the constitution, crisis, and assimilation (or destruction, which for the author is essentially the same thing) of the West Indian community in Costa Rica. Between 1880 and 1914 the boom in railroad construction and the banana industry attracted tens of thousands of West Indians to Limón and generated a thriving cultural and civic life in the port city and its environs. The United Fruit Company, a virtual suzerain of the Caribbean lowlands, provided paternalistic employment while British consular officials looked out for the rights of these subjects of the Crown B rather tepidly, as Harpelle makes clear. Anglican and Methodist churches provided spiritual and educational cohesion B indeed, the West...


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