Development Arrested

Development Arrested:The Blues and Plantation Power in the Mississippi Delta

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A new edition of a classic history of the U.S.'s poorest and most heavily African American region--the Mississippi River Delta

How could the Mississippi Delta, one of the world’s most prolific cultural centres, be demolished by a predictable natural disaster? This revised edition of Clyde Woods’s classic book examines disaster relief and reconstruction conflicts after Hurricane Katrina. Development Arrested also traces the decline and resurrection of plantation ideology in national public policy discourse from Thomas Jefferson to George W. Bush, documenting the unceasing attacks on the gains of the Civil Rights Movement and how, despite having suffered countless defeats at the hands of the planter regime, African Americans in the Delta region have continued to push forward their agenda for social, economic and cultural justice. Woods examines the role of the blues in sustaining their efforts, surveying a musical tradition including jazz, rock and roll, soul and hiphop that has embraced a radical vision of social change.


  • Development Arrested has no peer, for Clyde Woods is a rare scholar who takes the blues seriously as theory and social critique. Arguing that this folk discourse emerged in response to economic and political restructuring in the Delta during the 20th century, he goes on to show how it constitutes a critique of the plantation South, New South modernization, and the transformation of capitalist agriculture during the so-called Green Revolution. To paraphrase something Marx said a long time ago, Development Arrested reveals the connection between the arm of criticism (i.e. the blues/social science) and the criticism of arms: struggle for power in the Delta.

    Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class
  • [A] stunning and fresh analysis of the political economy of white supremacy and the redemptive power of the blues. All Americans, especially students, scholars, general readers and policy makers, who care about the extension of democracy and the future of black freedom, should read and discuss Clyde Wood’s intriguing book.

    Darlene Clark Hine, co-author of The African American Odyssey