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Big Cotton: How a Humble Fiber Created Fortunes, Wrecked Civilizations, and Put America on the Map

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Big Cotton: How a Humble Fiber Created Fortunes, Wrecked Civilizations, and Put America on the Map Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Cotton has touched off wars and revolutions, inspired astonishing inventions, laid waste to entire ecosystems, and enslaved untold millions of people. Alexander the Great carried cotton cloth on his back from India to Europe. Starting from the late eighteenth century, the fiber transformed creaky rural England into the greatest industrial power on earth. Today, cotton is, if anything, more preeminent than ever and at the center of raging global controversies. Now Stephen Yafa delves deep into the past to tell the amazing story of this humble, infinitely adaptable fiber that has—again and again—reinvented our world.

Domesticated simultaneously in Peru and Pakistan some 5,500 years ago, later a prime motive for the colonization of the New World, as Yafa shows, cotto‛s most profound impact came after the Industrial Revolution. By the mid-nineteenth century, the vast plantations of the antebellum South, the grim mill towns of New England, and the soot-spewing factories of the English Midlands were knit together in a global system of exploitation and enslavement—all of it based on cotton. When Marx and Engels composed The Communist Manifesto, they chose cotton manufacturing as the prime symbol of capitalism run amok. Beautifully researched and written, Big Cotton traces the cultural, economic, and social history of the“worl‛s friendlies” fiber from the kingdoms of Mesopotamia to the Gap.

Synopsis:

A Pollan-esque look at the truth about wheat: meal or menace?

No topic in nutrition is more controversial than wheat. While mega-sellers like Grain Brain and Wheat Belly suggest that wheat may be the new asbestos, Stephen Yafa finds that it has been wrongly demonized. His revealing book sets the record straight, breaking down the botany of the wheat plant weve hijacked for our own use, the science of nutrition and digestion, the effects of mass production on our health, and questions about gluten and fiber— all to point us towards a better, richer diet.

Wheat may be the most important food in human history, reaching from ancient times to General Mills. Yafa tours commercial factories where the needs of mass production trump the primacy of nutrition, and reports on the artisan grain revolution. From a Woodstock-like Kneading Conference to nutrition labs to a boutique bakery and pasta makers workshop in Brooklyn, he also finds that there may in fact be a perfect source of wheat-based nutrition. Its name is sourdough.

For readers of Salt Sugar Fat and The Omnivore's Dilemma, Grain of Truth smoothly blends science, history, biology, economics, and nutrition to give us back our daily bread.

Synopsis:

In the tradition of Mark Kurlansky's Cod and Salt, this endlessly revealing book reminds us that the fiber we think of as ordinary is the world's most powerful cash crop, and that it has shaped the destiny of nations. Ranging from its domestication 5,500 years ago to its influence in creating Calvin Klein's empire and the Gap, Stephen Yafa's Cotton gives us an intimate look at the plant that fooled Columbus into thinking he'd reached India, that helped start the Industrial Revolution as well as the American Civil War, and that made at least one bugandmdash;the boll weevilandmdash;world famous. A sweeping chronicle of ingenuity, greed,and#160; conflict, and opportunism, Cotton offers "a barrage of fascinating information" (Los Angeles Times).

About the Author

Stephen Yafa, a novelist, playwright, and award-winning screenwriter, has written for Playboy, Details, Rolling Stone, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

1. Spun in All Directions 9

2. Star Turns 25

3. The Barber from Preston 39

4. Revolutionary Fiber 70

5. Camelot on the Merrimack 91

6. Looming Conflicts 118

7. Southern Exposure 147

8. Changing Fortunes 173

9. Two-Horse Power 202

10. Boll Weevil Blues 233

11. The Shirt on Your Back 270

12. Fields of Conflict 305

Afterword 338

Glossary 345

Notes 349

Bibliography 375

Acknowledgments 381

Index 385

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670033676
Subtitle:
The Real Case For and Against Wheat and Gluten
Author:
Yafa, Stephen
Publisher:
Avery
Subject:
World - General
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
World
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
The Biography of a R
Publication Date:
20150512
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16-page b/w photo insert
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » Crop Science
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » General

Big Cotton: How a Humble Fiber Created Fortunes, Wrecked Civilizations, and Put America on the Map Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Viking Books - English 9780670033676 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
A Pollan-esque look at the truth about wheat: meal or menace?

No topic in nutrition is more controversial than wheat. While mega-sellers like Grain Brain and Wheat Belly suggest that wheat may be the new asbestos, Stephen Yafa finds that it has been wrongly demonized. His revealing book sets the record straight, breaking down the botany of the wheat plant weve hijacked for our own use, the science of nutrition and digestion, the effects of mass production on our health, and questions about gluten and fiber— all to point us towards a better, richer diet.

Wheat may be the most important food in human history, reaching from ancient times to General Mills. Yafa tours commercial factories where the needs of mass production trump the primacy of nutrition, and reports on the artisan grain revolution. From a Woodstock-like Kneading Conference to nutrition labs to a boutique bakery and pasta makers workshop in Brooklyn, he also finds that there may in fact be a perfect source of wheat-based nutrition. Its name is sourdough.

For readers of Salt Sugar Fat and The Omnivore's Dilemma, Grain of Truth smoothly blends science, history, biology, economics, and nutrition to give us back our daily bread.

"Synopsis" by ,

In the tradition of Mark Kurlansky's Cod and Salt, this endlessly revealing book reminds us that the fiber we think of as ordinary is the world's most powerful cash crop, and that it has shaped the destiny of nations. Ranging from its domestication 5,500 years ago to its influence in creating Calvin Klein's empire and the Gap, Stephen Yafa's Cotton gives us an intimate look at the plant that fooled Columbus into thinking he'd reached India, that helped start the Industrial Revolution as well as the American Civil War, and that made at least one bugandmdash;the boll weevilandmdash;world famous. A sweeping chronicle of ingenuity, greed,and#160; conflict, and opportunism, Cotton offers "a barrage of fascinating information" (Los Angeles Times).

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