Delta Sugar: Louisiana’s Vanishing Plantation Landscape by John B. Rehder (review)

Delta Sugar: Louisiana's Vanishing Plantation Landscape by John B. Rehder (The John Hopkins University Press, 1999)

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Delta Sugar: Louisiana’s Vanishing Plantation Landscape by John B. Rehder (review)

by John Michael Vlach
Southern Cultures, Vol. 6, No. 4: Winter 2000

The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999

Although it is commonplace for a recently minted Ph.D. to publish his or her dissertation soon after its completion, making of it the foundation for a scholarly reputation, cultural geographer John B. Rehder took a different approach. Delta Sugar: Louisiana’s Vanishing Plantation Landscape is his dissertation revisited some thirty years after obtaining his doctorate. To be sure, in the interim he has used this research as the basis for a number of useful articles that describe key attributes of the sugar industry in southern Louisiana. But in this book, he tells the story of the sugar landscape in full, and, armed with insights that have been maturing for three decades, the account is much richer than any dissertation rushed into print ever could be.