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Higman, B.W., Jamaica Surveyed: Plantation Maps and Plans of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Kingston: Institute of Jamaica Publications, Ltd., 1988. ISBN 9768017058 (hard cover), ISBN 9768017082 (paper). 28x2lcm., xv, 308pp., illustrated. (2a Suthermere Rd., Kingston 10, Jamaica)

During the 18th century, the sugar islands of the West Indies were regarded as prizes perhaps even more desirable than the chilly North American continent.  This book, through its careful analysis on numerous manuscript plans, shows us why.  By good fortune, an enormous number of these estate plans have been preserved in Jamaica, and nowhere else.  The author has used this resource to knit together an absorbing account of the early development of Jamaica's agriculture.  The book is well designed, with all necessary graphs, index maps, and so on.  On a depressing note, for want of money, this unique collection in the National Library of Jamaica is deteriorating and needs conservation.

David C. Jolly, 1990

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