Synopses & Reviews
Itandrsquo;s no surprise that sugar has been on our minds for millennia. First cultivated in New Guinea around 8,000 B.C.E., this addictive sweetener has since come to dominate our appetitesandmdash;whether in candy, desserts, soft drinks, or even pasta saucesandmdash;for better and for worse. In this book, Andrew F. Smith offers a fascinating history of this simultaneously beloved and reviled ingredient, holding its incredible value as a global commodity up against its darker legacies of slavery and widespread obesity.
As Smith demonstrates, sugarandrsquo;s past is chockfull of determined adventurers: relentless sugar barons and plantation owners who worked alongside plant breeders, food processors, distributors, and politicians to build a business based on our cravings. Exploring both the sugarcane and sugar beet industries, he tells story after story of those who have made fortunes and those who have met demise all because of sugarandrsquo;s simple but profound hold on our palates. Delightful and surprisingly action-packed, this book offers a layered and definitive tale of sugar and the many people who have been caught in its spellandmdash;from barons to slaves, from chefs to the countless among us born with that insatiable devil, the sweet tooth. and#160; and#160;and#160;
Itand#8217;s no surprise that humankindand#8217;s love affair with sugar stretches back over millennia. The addictive sweetener originated in New Guinea around 8,000 BC and quickly spread throughout India, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. By the tenth century it had become the European obsession and soon afterwards a major export of American colonies. Today sugar is grown around the world and is a main component of sweets, cakes, and soft drinks, as well as of pasta sauce and peanut butterand#8212;despite their savory nature. Sugarcane and sugar beets are two of the most important global commodities, but they are also controversial for their high doses of carbohydrates and lack of nutritional quality. Over-consumption of sugar is associated with many chronic diseases and is a major cause of obesity.
Sugar: A Global History explores sugarand#8217;s reputation as one of the most beloved yet most reviled substances that humans consume. Smith combines historical context with the gripping stories of those who have benefited and suffered because of sugar, and he analyzes mankindand#8217;s convoluted love-hate relationship with the sweetener that has such a powerful hold over us.
Sugar: A Bittersweet History is a compelling and surprising look at the sweet commodity, from how it Africanized the cane fields of the Caribbean to how it fuelled the Industrial Revolution and jumpstarted the fast-food revolution.
The book explores the hidden stories behind this sweet product, revealing how powerful American interests deposed Queen Lili'uokalani of Hawaii, how Hitler tried to ensure a steady supply of beet sugar when enemies threatened to cut off Germany's supply of overseas cane sugar, and how South Africa established a domestic ethanol industry in the wake of anti-apartheid sugar embargos. The book follows the history of sugar to the present day, showing how sugar made eating on the run socially acceptable and played an integral role in today's fast food culture and obesity epidemic. Impressively researched and commandingly written, Sugar will forever change perceptions of this sweet treat.
About the Author
Elizabeth Abbott is Research Associate at Trinity College, University of Toronto, and, from 1991 to 2004, was Dean of Women. She is the author of several books, including Sugar and Haiti, also published by Overlook. She lives in Toronto.
Table of Contents
1. Early Sugar History
2. New World Sugar to 1900
3. Global Sugar
4. Sugar Uses
5. Sweets and Candies
6. American Bliss
7. Sugar Blues
Websites and Associations