• Empire of Rubber

  • Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia
  • By: Gregg Mitman
  • Narrated by: Amir Abdullah
  • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the early 1920s, Americans owned eighty percent of the world's automobiles and consumed seventy-five percent of the world's rubber. But only one percent of the world's rubber grew under the US flag, creating a bottleneck that hampered the nation's explosive economic expansion. To solve its conundrum, the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company turned to a tiny West African nation, Liberia, founded in 1847 as a free Black republic. 

Empire of Rubber tells a sweeping story of capitalism, racial exploitation, and environmental devastation, as Firestone transformed Liberia into America's rubber empire. Historian and filmmaker Gregg Mitman scoured remote archives to unearth a history of promises unfulfilled for the vast numbers of Liberians who toiled on rubber plantations built on taken land. Mitman reveals a history of racial segregation and medical experimentation that reflected Jim Crow America—on African soil. As Firestone reaped fortunes, wealth and power concentrated in the hands of a few elites, fostering widespread inequalities that fed unrest, rebellions and, eventually, civil war.

A riveting narrative of ecology and disease, of commerce and science, and of racial politics and political maneuvering, Empire of Rubber uncovers the hidden story of a corporate empire whose tentacles reach into the present.

©2021 Gregg Mitman (P)2022 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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