An Edible History of Humanity
The bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses brilliantly charts how foods have transformed human culture through the ages. Throughout history, food has acted as a catalyst of social change, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military... show more
The bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses brilliantly charts how foods have transformed human culture through the ages. Throughout history, food has acted as a catalyst of social change, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military conflict, and economic expansion. An Edible History of Humanity is a pithy, entertaining account of how a series of changes—caused, enabled, or influenced by food—has helped to shape and transform societies around the world. The first civilizations were built on barley and wheat in the Near East, millet and rice in Asia, corn and potatoes in the Americas. Why farming created a strictly ordered social hierarchy in contrast to the loose egalitarianism of hunter-gatherers is, as Tom Standage reveals, as interesting as the details of the complex cultures that emerged, eventually interconnected by commerce. Trade in exotic spices in particular spawned the age of exploration and the colonization of the New World. Food’s influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britain’s solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleon’s rise and fall was intimately connected with his ability to feed his vast armies. In the twentieth century, Communist leaders employed food as an ideological weapon, resulting in the death by starvation of millions in the S oviet Union and China. And today the foods we choose in the supermarket connect us to global debates about trade, development, the environment, and the adoption of new technologies. Encompassing many fields, from genetics and archaeology to anthropology and economics—and invoking food as a special form of technology—An Edible History of Humanity is a fully satisfying discourse on the sweep of human history.
Publish date: May 19th 2009
Publisher: Walker & Company
Pages no: 269
Edition language: English
This was...horrible. I don't know that I can put into words how I feel about this book, though I've tried during rants to three different people about this...book. (eye twitch) So sorry, but you're the fourth (fifth, sixth, etc). Hopefully by now I have things lined out in a somewhat understandabl...
A very broad, breezy, introductory overview of the history of food/ agriculture. The book was interesting even if it didn't cover anything terribly new. A "salad" book. No meat.
I didn't enjoy this as much as Standage's History of the World in Six Glasses. There were lots of interesting nuggets in this book, some were cool trivia about the role of food in various phases throughout history, other nuggets shed light on our perspective on food today, calling into question wha...
Standage for the first half of the book merely echoes the 1997 [b:Guns Germs and Steel|1842|Guns, Germs, and Steel The Fates of Human Societies|Jared Diamond|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1363934734s/1842.jpg|2138852], retelling the story of plant domestication and gene exchange; the C...
Not a bad read, but not really to my tastes. This is very much macrohistory, since it attempts to cover the entire history of humanity through food in just under 250 pages. My tastes in history books usually runs towards microhistory. (Other topics I've enjoyed reading histories of: gin, curry, milk...