Indigo In Search of the Color That Seduced the World

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-05-24
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
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For almost five millennia, in every culture and every major religion, indigoa blue pigment obtained from the small green leaf of a parasitic shrub through a complex process that even scientists still regard as mysterioushas been one of the world's most valued dyes. Indigois the story of this precious dye and its ancient heritage: its relationship to slavery as the "hidden half" of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, its profound spiritual (African, Islamic, Christian, Amish) and sartorial significance that is little recognized but no less alive today (blue jeans, anyone?). It is an untold story, existing in footnotes and brief mentions in popular and scholarly records, brimming with rich, electrifying tales of those who shaped the course of 20th century colonial history and a world economy, fascinating people long forgotten who here are brought thrillingly alive. ButIndigois also the story of a personal quest: McKinley is the descendant of a clan of Scots who wore indigo tartan as their virile armor; the kin of several generations of Jewish "rag traders"; her maternal grandfather owned a textile factory in Lynn, Massachusetts; and she's a paternal granddaughter of African slavesher ancestors were traded along the same Saharan routes as indigo, where a length of blue cotton could purchase human life. McKinley's journey in search of beauty and her own history began with a Fulbright fellowship to research indigo, and ultimately leads her to a new and satisfying path, to finally "taste life."

Author Biography

Catherine McKinley is the author of The Book of Sarahs. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she has taught Creative Nonfiction, and a former Fulbright Scholar in Ghana, West Africa, where she began her research on indigo. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Mapp. xi
Author's Notep. xiii
Prologuep. 1
An Invitation, Ghanap. 15
A Burning Heart, Ghanap. 50
Widow's Blues, Ghanap. 71
The Road to Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Fasop. 103
The Chanel of Africa, Ghanap. 118
Amazons, Wives of the Gods, and Mama Benz, Ghana/Togo/Beninp. 130
Not Everything You Can Own, Ivory Coastp. 150
The Beautiful One, Ghanap. 165
Mothers of Ash, Nigeriap. 170
Blue Gold and Concubines, Nigerp. 194
Divine Sky, Senegal and New York Cityp. 205
The Taste of Life
It's Never Late, New York Cityp. 219
Acknowledgmentsp. 233
Bibliographyp. 235
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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