With this important collection of essays on the independent economic activities of slaves, freedmen, and indentured Indians in colonial Mauritius, Richard Allen takes the history of Mauritian labor well beyond the familiar themes of exploitation and resistance. This is careful economic history from below, with important implications for Mauritian social and cultural history. Allen's argument is that inhabitants of the vast bottoms of the social pyramid—gens de couleur (free persons of color), ex-apprentices, and Indian immigrants—not only shaped their own destinies in difficult legal and social conditions, but that their independent choices profoundly influenced the insular economy as a whole. Through attention to subalterns' acquisition and management of land and capital, Allen sheds new light on key questions in Mauritian social history (especially the social “disappearance” of the Afro-Mauritian population and the rise of Indian entrepreneurship in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries). As do all provocative and well-researched works, this one proposes solutions to old problems and allows us to ask new questions about the roles of Malagasy, Africans, Indians, and their descendants in Mauritian history.