Today’s guest blogger, David Purificato, is a Ph.D. student at the Department of History, SUNY at Stony Brook University, we are excited to feature his book review on Borderlands History! David is interested in nineteenth century antebellum American cultural, social, and domestic history, with a focus in material culture and the history of the book. He is currently conducting preliminary dissertation research by looking at backgrounds in nineteenth century illustrations and Fashion Plates to better understand how the book as an object functioned in the American parlor.
Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America. By Peter Andreas, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 355 pp. Illustrations, notes, index. Paperback, $19.95).
Peter Andreas’s Smuggler Nation examines North America’s long relationship to smuggling and the nation’s history of illegal trade from the colonial period to the twenty-first century. He argues that federal attempts to stop illicit “cross border economic flows” to and away from national borders have “defined and shaped” the United States, and ultimately created the modern American police state (2). Asserting that today’s appeals for border control suffer from “historical amnesia” and the belief in the myth that the U.S. ever had secure borders, Andreas looks for a long and deep history of the clandestine to demonstrate how the United States’ development has always been tied to the practice of smuggling (3).