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Richardson book discusses economy and environment in Caribbean region

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 09 - October 23, 1997

Bonham Richardson, professor of geography at Virginia Tech, has published Economy and Environment in the Caribbean: Barbados and the Windwards in the Late 1800s.
A historical geography of the British colonies St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Grenada, the book describes the economies, environments, and societies of the four geographically dissimilar islands. Richardson emphasizes the effects of the islands' physical environments and devotes chapters to climate, waters, lowlands, and highlands. He also demonstrates how these environmental zones and resources were contested by different socio-economic groups.
He demonstrates ways in which the working people, far from being victims of colonialism, managed to influence British decision makers so that each island developed a unique adaptation to the economic and geophysical stresses placed on it, proving fruitless the British attempts to "regionalize" the islands under a single policy.
David Watts of the University of Hull in England says of the book, "Bearing in mind the recent renewed interest in the economic and environmental problems of small islands everywhere, [this] is a highly appropriate time to bring back to world attention the issues of that time, which served in large measure to define the patterns of development in Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent in the early decades of the twentieth century."
Economy and Environment in the Caribbean is schedule to be co-published in November by the University Press of Florida and The Press University of the West Indies. Richardson's previous book, The Caribbean in the Wider World, 1492-1992, received the Gordon K. Lewis Award in 1993 from the Caribbean Studies Association.