Slaves for Peanuts deftly weaves together the natural and human history of a crop
that transformed the lives of millions. Author Jori Lewis reveals how demand for peanut oil in Europe ensured that slavery in Africa would persist well into the twentieth century, long after the European powers had officially banned it in the territories they controlled.
Delving deep into West African and European archives, Lewis recreates a world on the coast of Africa that is breathtakingly real and unlike anything modern readers have experienced. Slaves for Peanuts is told through the eyes of a set of richly detailed historical characters—from an African-born missionary harboring runaway slaves to the leader of a local kingdom navigating the politics of French imperialism—who challenge our most basic assumptions of the motives and people who supported human bondage.
Jori Lewis is an award–winning journalist who writes about agriculture and the environment. Her reports have appeared on PRI’s The World and in Discover Magazine, Pacific Standard, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. She is also a contributing editor of Adi, a literary magazine about global politics. In 2018, she received the prestigious Whiting Grant for Creative Nonfiction. Lewis splits her time between Illinois and Senegal, and Slaves
for Peanuts is her first book.