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An Edible History of Humanity

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ISBN13: 9780802715883
ISBN10: 0802715885
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Foods influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britains solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleons 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.

Tom Standage is the business editor at the Economist and the author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses, The Victorian Internet, The Turk, and The Neptune File. He has written for Wired, The New York Times, and numerous magazines and newspapers. He lives in London, England.
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.

Foods influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britains solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleons 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 Soviet 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.

"This meaty little volume . . . 'concentrates specifically on the intersections between food history and world history.' But history isnt Standage's only concern. He takes the long view to illuminate and contextualize such contemporary issues as genetically modified foods, the complex relationship between food and poverty, the local food movement, the politicization of food and the environmental outcomes of modern methods of agriculture . . . Cogent, informative and insightful."—Kirkus Reviews
"This meaty little volume . . . 'concentrates specifically on the intersections between food history and world history.' But history isnt Standage's only concern. He takes the long view to illuminate and contextualize such contemporary issues as genetically modified foods, the complex relationship between food and poverty, the local food movement, the politicization of food and the environmental outcomes of modern methods of agriculture . . . Cogent, informative and insightful."—Kirkus Reviews

"Earliest civilizations appeared on earth when farmers banded together and exploited their excess crops as a means of trade and currency. This allowed some people to abandon agriculture [leading to] organized communities and cities. Standage traces this ever-evolving story through Europe, Asia, and the Americas and casts human progress as an elaboration and refinement of this foundation . . . Standage also uncovers the aspects of food distribution that underlay such historic events as the Napoleonic Wars and the fall of the Soviet empire."Mark Knoblauch, Booklist

"Standage's previous book, A History of the World in 6 Glasses, theorized that the titular six drinks were reflections of the eras in which they were created. In this new work, he instead shows how one of humanity's most vital needs (hunger) didn't simply reflect but served as the driving force behind transformative and key events in history. Dividing the vast subject into six general sections (such as food's role in the development of societies and social hierarchies, its impact on population and industrialization, and its uses as a weapon both on the battlefield and off), Standage illustrates each section with historical examples and observations. Some topics, like the spice trade's encouragement of exploration, are fairly obvious choices, but the concise style and inclusion of little-known details keep the material both entertaining and enlightening. Perhaps the most interesting section is the final one, which looks at the ways in which modern agricultural needs have acted as a spur for technological advancement, with Standage providing a summary of the challenges still faced by the green revolution. Recommended."—Kathleen McCallister, University of South Carolina Library, Columbia, School Library Journal

Synopsis:

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.

Foods influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britains solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleons 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.

Tom Standage is the business editor at the Economist and the author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses, The Victorian Internet, The Turk, and The Neptune File. He has written for Wired, The New York Times, and numerous magazines and newspapers. He lives in London, England.
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.

Foods influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britains solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleons 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 Soviet 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.

"This meaty little volume . . . 'concentrates specifically on the intersections between food history and world history.' But history isnt Standage's only concern. He takes the long view to illuminate and contextualize such contemporary issues as genetically modified foods, the complex relationship between food and poverty, the local food movement, the politicization of food and the environmental outcomes of modern methods of agriculture . . . Cogent, informative and insightful."—Kirkus Reviews
"This meaty little volume . . . 'concentrates specifically on the intersections between food history and world history.' But history isnt Standage's only concern. He takes the long view to illuminate and contextualize such contemporary issues as genetically modified foods, the complex relationship between food and poverty, the local food movement, the politicization of food and the environmental outcomes of modern methods of agriculture . . . Cogent, informative and insightful."—Kirkus Reviews

"Earliest civilizations appeared on earth when farmers banded together and exploited their excess crops as a means of trade and currency. This allowed some people to abandon agriculture [leading to] organized communities and cities. Standage traces this ever-evolving story through Europe, Asia, and the Americas and casts human progress as an elaboration and refinement of this foundation . . . Standage also uncovers the aspects of food distribution that underlay such historic events as the Napoleonic Wars and the fall of the Soviet empire."Mark Knoblauch, Booklist

"Standage's previous book, A History of the World in 6 Glasses, theorized that the titular six drinks were reflections of the eras in which they were created. In this new work, he instead shows how one of humanity's most vital needs (hunger) didn't simply reflect but served as the driving force behind transformative and key events in history. Dividing the vast subject into six general sections (such as food's role in the development of societies and social hierarchies, its impact on population and industrialization, and its uses as a weapon both on the battlefield and off), Standage illustrates each section with historical examples and observations. Some topics, like the spice trade's encouragement of exploration, are fairly obvious choices, but the concise style and inclusion of little-known details keep the material both entertaining and enlightening. Perhaps the most interesting section is the final one, which looks at the ways in which modern agricultural needs have acted as a spur for technological advancement, with Standage providing a summary of the challenges still faced by the green revolution. Recommended."—Kathleen McCallister, University of South Carolina Library, Columbia, School Library Journal

Synopsis:

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.

Foods influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britains solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleons 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.

About the Author

Tom Standage is the business editor at the Economist and the author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses, The Victorian Internet, The Turk, and The Neptune File. He has written for Wired, the New York Times, and numerous magazines and newspapers. He lives in London, England. Visit his Web site at www.tomstandage.com.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Jennmarie68, March 11, 2010 (view all comments by Jennmarie68)
At first I thought this would be a boring "history" book, one that just rehashes everything I learned in school. Much to my shock and enjoyment it was a pretty good book. This book goes back to the very first humans and shows how food has shaped our future. From being hunter-gathers to present day humans it's amazing, and obvious, how food allowed us to make those important changes. Standage even gives some ideas on how food may shape our future.

There was so much information that while not necessarily useful, was at least interesting. I never really thought about the role that food had played in our history, but after reading this book I thought to myself, "How could I not have recognized that important link?" I think food isn't at the forefront of history because it is something that we take for granted. Even when learning of times when food was rationed by different countries throughout history I never realized the role that food played in the political and cultural climates.

The writing style was also nice. It wasn't mundane to read, the information was presented with a very nice flow. It wasn't an exciting book, and it wasn't one that I became captivated by, but it was enjoyable. If nothing else the knowledge I gained was worth the read.

It was very interesting and I would definitely recommend it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780802715883
Author:
Standage, Tom
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Subject:
General
Subject:
General History
Subject:
World - General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Food habits
Subject:
Food
Subject:
Agriculture -- History.
Subject:
Food habits -- History.
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20090531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
bandw illustrations throughout
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
History and Social Science » Sociology » Agriculture and Food
History and Social Science » World History » General

An Edible History of Humanity Used Hardcover
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Product details 288 pages Walker & Company - English 9780802715883 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
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.

Foods influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britains solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleons 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.

Tom Standage is the business editor at the Economist and the author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses, The Victorian Internet, The Turk, and The Neptune File. He has written for Wired, The New York Times, and numerous magazines and newspapers. He lives in London, England.
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.

Foods influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britains solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleons 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 Soviet 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.

"This meaty little volume . . . 'concentrates specifically on the intersections between food history and world history.' But history isnt Standage's only concern. He takes the long view to illuminate and contextualize such contemporary issues as genetically modified foods, the complex relationship between food and poverty, the local food movement, the politicization of food and the environmental outcomes of modern methods of agriculture . . . Cogent, informative and insightful."—Kirkus Reviews
"This meaty little volume . . . 'concentrates specifically on the intersections between food history and world history.' But history isnt Standage's only concern. He takes the long view to illuminate and contextualize such contemporary issues as genetically modified foods, the complex relationship between food and poverty, the local food movement, the politicization of food and the environmental outcomes of modern methods of agriculture . . . Cogent, informative and insightful."—Kirkus Reviews

"Earliest civilizations appeared on earth when farmers banded together and exploited their excess crops as a means of trade and currency. This allowed some people to abandon agriculture [leading to] organized communities and cities. Standage traces this ever-evolving story through Europe, Asia, and the Americas and casts human progress as an elaboration and refinement of this foundation . . . Standage also uncovers the aspects of food distribution that underlay such historic events as the Napoleonic Wars and the fall of the Soviet empire."Mark Knoblauch, Booklist

"Standage's previous book, A History of the World in 6 Glasses, theorized that the titular six drinks were reflections of the eras in which they were created. In this new work, he instead shows how one of humanity's most vital needs (hunger) didn't simply reflect but served as the driving force behind transformative and key events in history. Dividing the vast subject into six general sections (such as food's role in the development of societies and social hierarchies, its impact on population and industrialization, and its uses as a weapon both on the battlefield and off), Standage illustrates each section with historical examples and observations. Some topics, like the spice trade's encouragement of exploration, are fairly obvious choices, but the concise style and inclusion of little-known details keep the material both entertaining and enlightening. Perhaps the most interesting section is the final one, which looks at the ways in which modern agricultural needs have acted as a spur for technological advancement, with Standage providing a summary of the challenges still faced by the green revolution. Recommended."—Kathleen McCallister, University of South Carolina Library, Columbia, School Library Journal

"Synopsis" by ,
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.

Foods influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britains solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleons 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.

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