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Sugar, Steam and Steel is about cane sugar and the transformation of an Indonesian island into the �Oriental Cuba� during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Between the 1830s and the 1880s, sweetener manufacture in Dutch-controlled Java � the crown jewel of the erstwhile Netherlands Indies � drew decisively away in matters of technology and sugar science from other Asian centres of production which had once equaled or, more often, surpassed it in terms of both output and know-how. Along with its larger and altogether more famous Caribbean counterpart, Java�s industry came to occupy a position at the apex of the trade in what had become by this date a key global commodity.


Having published "Big Sugar" in 2013, G. Roger Knight has served up another sweet dish. A renowned scholar and author on the history of Indonesian sugar, he has embarked on an ambitious project to bring to life more than two centuries of developments in Indonesian sugar production and manufacturing.'

Alexander Claver Source: Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies

Knight's study is one of exceptional insight because he uses several perspectives to unravel the (invisible) processes that underlie Java's sugar project. But there is another dimension: his stories trigger your imagination. Knight takes some of the leading persons who appeared in my own dissertation and makes them more complete by adding genealogical research data and deeper historical background. He takes the reader along into the 19th-century world of the Netherlands East Indies and of the imperial families in the Indies community. It is a world of its own. History is story-telling, Knight said, and I must say that he has succeeded admirably in telling the story of Java's industrial project in this book.'

Margaret Leidelmeijer Source: World Sugar History Newsletter, Number 48

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